AP Business NewsBrief at 12:40 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) HP sets labor guidelines in for Chinese suppliersSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Personal computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. is pledging to crack down on its Chinese suppliers in an effort to reduce the use of low-paid student interns and other temporary workers. The guidelines unveiled Friday are the latest attempt by a major U.S. technology company to weed out labor abuses at Chinese factories that manufacture the gadgets of an Internet-connected world.
US growth in Q4 likely stronger on export gainsWASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in December because exports rose while oil imports plummeted. The smaller trade gap means the economy almost surely grew in the October-December quarter _ an improvement from the government's estimate last week that it shrank in the final months of 2012. The trade deficit fell nearly 21 percent in December from November to $38.6 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday. That's the smallest in nearly three years.
US wholesale stockpiles dip 0.1 pct. in DecemberWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. wholesalers cut their stockpiles slightly in December while their sales were unchanged, suggesting businesses were cautious at the end of a weak quarter. The Commerce Department said Friday that wholesale business stockpiles dipped 0.1 percent in December from November to $497.7 billion. That followed a 0.4 percent rise the previous month.
Stocks edge higher after trade deficit reportNEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks edged higher in on Wall Street after a report showed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in December. The major indexes were also boosted by strong earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points to 13,933 as of 11:54 a.m. EST Friday and climbed back above 14,000 during morning trading. On Feb. 1, the index closed above 14,000 for the first time since 2007.
NYC, New England brace for up to 3 feet of snowBOSTON (AP) _ A storm poised to dump up to 3 feet of snow from New York City to Boston and beyond beginning Friday could be one for the record books, forecasters warned, as residents scurried to stock up on food and water and road crews readied salt and sand. Before the first snowflake had fallen, Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and other towns and cities in New England and upstate New York towns canceled school Friday, and airlines scratched more than 2,600 flights through Saturday, with the disruptions from the blizzard certain to ripple across the U.S.
US airlines to halt Northeast flightsMost airlines were giving up on flying in and out of New York, Boston and other cities in the Northeast Friday as a massive storm threatened to dump snow by the foot on the region. Airlines were generally shutting down operations in the afternoon at the three big New York-area airports as well as Boston, Providence, Portland, Maine, and other Northeastern airports. They're hoping to resume flights on Saturday.
How airlines prepare for big stormsNEW YORK (AP) _ As the Northeast braces for its largest winter storm in more than a year, airlines are already employing a strategy that has served them well in recent years: Cancel flights early and keep planes and crews _ and passengers _ away from snowed-in airports. Up to 3 feet of snow was forecast along the densely populated Interstate 95 corridor from the New York City area to Boston and beyond. In response, the major airlines plan to shut down their Northeast operations by Friday afternoon, and canceled 900 flights for Saturday.
McDonald's sales fall again amid weakness in AsiaNEW YORK (AP) _ McDonald's says a key sales figure dropped again in January as the world's biggest hamburger chain faced ongoing weakness in Japan and sales in China were hurt by a food scare and the timing of a holiday. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months dropped 1.9 percent for the month. The figure is a key metric because it strips out the volatility of newly opened and closed locations.
Feds may expand Pontiac brake light recallDETROIT (AP) _ U.S. safety regulators are looking at expanding a small recall of Pontiac G6 midsize cars so it includes up to 550,000 vehicles. About 8,000 of the cars were recalled by General Motors in 2009 because the brake lights and cruise control didn't work properly.
Cast out of Monopoly, the clothes iron enduresPROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ When online voters nixed the clothes iron token from Hasbro's Monopoly game, the appliance was held up as passe, as something your grandmother once used to ease the wrinkles out of linens and handkerchiefs. "Despite being an integral part of life when the token was added to the game in the 1930s, the iron has fallen out of favor with today's fans," the Rhode Island-based company said in announcing its replacement _ with a cat.
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