AP Business NewsBrief at 2:38 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) US household wealth regains pre-recession peakWASHINGTON (AP) _ It took 5 1/2 years. Surging stock prices and steady home-price increases have finally allowed Americans to regain the $16 trillion in wealth they lost to the Great Recession. The gains are helping support the economy and could lead to further spending and growth.
Boeing 787 battery fire was difficult to controlWASHINGTON (AP) _ An investigation of a battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 shows mechanics and firefighters made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to put out the blaze through smoke so thick they couldn't see the battery. The documents released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board paint a more dangerous picture of the Jan. 7 fire than previously portrayed.
Facebook adds more personal touches to News FeedMENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) _ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new look for the social network's News Feed, the place where its 1 billion users congregate to see what's happening with their friends, family and favorite businesses. The makeover will carve out more space to show the billions of photos and videos that are being posted on Facebook each month. The redesign, which began rolling out Thursday, also ushers in more ways for users to control the types of posts that appear in their feeds.
Stocks gain for fifth day on unemployment reportNEW YORK (AP) _ The Dow pushed further into unchartered territory Thursday, having surpassed its previous all-time high two days ago. The catalyst was a government report on employment that gave succor to stock market bulls. Stocks started higher after the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell by 7,000 last week, driving the four-week average to its lowest in five years. The drop is a positive sign ahead of Friday's employment report.
Icahn proposes alternative to Dell buyoutBillionaire investor Carl Icahn wants Dell Inc. to remain a public company and proposed rewarding shareholders with a large dividend payment instead of becoming private in a $24.4 billion buyout. He says the amount being offered by a group led by Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell substantially undervalues the slumping PC maker.
AP Interview: Toyota chief stresses safe growthTOKYO (AP) _ After four tumultuous years bookended by an unprecedented recall crisis and a return to the top of the global auto industry, Akio Toyoda is refashioning Toyota Motor Corp. into a leaner company that's more imbued with the venture spirit of founder Kiichiro Toyoda, his grandfather. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Toyota's president said he is putting new auto plants on hold for three years and reshaping the automaker's structure to give more autonomy to regional divisions and foreign executives.
Retailers report slowing sales gains for FebruaryNEW YORK (AP) _ Americans cut back on spending in February as cold weather and economic challenges chilled their appetite for spring merchandise. The nation's retailers on Thursday reported that sales slowed in February, a time when most stores get rid of winter merchandise and bring in swimsuits, ankle length pants and other spring fashions.
Obama presses on with GOP charm offensiveWASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama pressed on with his Republican charm offensive Thursday, holding a White House lunch with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in an effort to soften the ground for potential talks on a long-term deficit reduction deal. On Capitol Hill, efforts to stave off a late March government shutdown shifted to the Senate after House Republicans swiftly passed legislation to keep federal agencies running, while also easing some effects of $85 billion in budget cuts. If the shutdown can be avoided, it could clear the way for lawmakers and Obama to at least discuss a broader budget agreement.
Kroger's profit beats Wall Street expectationsNEW YORK (AP) _ Kroger's fourth-quarter profit handily beat Wall Street expectations as the country's largest traditional supermarket operator saw sales climb. The Cincinnati-based company, which also owns Ralphs, Fry's and Food 4 Less, said revenue at stores open at least a year rose 3 percent for the quarter, excluding fuel. The metric is a key gauge of health because it strips out revenue from newly opened and closed locations.
Facebook exec's new book urges women to 'lean in'NEW YORK (AP) _ For a book that has yet to be released, Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" _ part feminist manifesto, part how-to career guide _ has got a lot of people talking. In the weeks leading up to the book's release on Monday, pundits and press hounds have been debating its merits. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Sandberg a "PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots," and countless bloggers have suggested that Facebook's chief operating officer is the wrong person to lead a women's movement.
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