- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

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AP analysis: More ‘phony numbers’ in reports as stocks rise

NEW YORK (AP) - Those record profits that companies are reporting may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

As the stock market climbs ever higher, professional investors are warning that companies are presenting misleading versions of their results that ignore a wide variety of normal costs of running a business to make it seem like they’re doing better than they really are.

What’s worse, the financial analysts who are supposed to fight corporate spin are often playing along. Instead of challenging the companies, they’re largely passing along the rosy numbers in reports recommending stocks to investors.

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Apple wants a lead role in streaming music

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple’s iTunes helped change the way music-lovers bought their favorite songs, replacing plastic discs with digital downloads. Now the maker of iPods and iPhones wants to carve out a leading role in a revolution well under way, with a new, paid streaming-music service set to launch this summer.

With millions of listeners already tuning in to streaming outlets like Pandora and Spotify, analysts and music-industry sources say Apple has been gearing up to launch its own service, aimed at winning back some of those customers and nudging longtime iTunes users into a new mode of listening.

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American Pharoah owners racing to capitalize on champ’s name

NEW YORK (AP) - American Pharoah’s owners and thoroughbred racing now have a new race to run: a race to capitalize on the horse’s Triple Crown victory before the excitement fades away.

As the first winner of the sport’s Triple Crown in 37 years, American Pharoah has a wealth of marketing opportunities that could never have been imagined by owners of the last winner, Affirmed, in 1978. At the same time, horse racing has declined into a niche pastime that is facing an aging demographic, a shrinking number of race tracks, and competition from new ways of betting on sports.

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Survey: Slow 2nd quarter to drag on 2015 economic growth

U.S. economic growth in the second quarter will be far weaker than previously expected and it will prevent the pace of growth from exceeding last year’s 2.4 percent, according to a forecast by a group of U.S. business economists.

Growth is expected to accelerate significantly in the third quarter, but “sluggish” conditions in the first three months of the year will persist into the second quarter and drag down average growth for the year, a survey by the National Association for Business Economists said Monday.

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G-7 set far-off goal to move away from fossil fuels

ELMAU, Germany (AP) - The world should move away from using fossil fuels by the end of this century, G-7 leaders said Monday, setting an ambitious but distant goal ahead of a global conference on climate change this year.

The leaders of seven wealthy democracies also warned Russia that sanctions imposed for its actions against Ukraine would remain until a cease-fire is fully observed in eastern Ukraine - and those sanctions could be made tougher if the situation requires.

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Sears 1Q loss narrows but sales slump continues

NEW YORK (AP) - Sears’ first-quarter loss narrowed but sales continue to slump as the retailer prepares the rollout of its real-estate investment trust this week to raise cash.

Sears Holdings Corp., which operates Sears and Kmart stores, said that it expects the real estate investment trust that it is forming, Seritage Growth Properties, will be declared effective by the Securities & Exchange Commission this week.

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FDA weighs target population for Amgen cholesterol drug

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal health regulators said Monday a highly-anticipated, experimental drug from Amgen significantly lowers bad cholesterol. But officials have questions about who should take the drug and whether to approve it based on currently available data.

The Food and Drug Administration posted its review of Amgen’s Repatha ahead of a public meeting to consider its approval. Repatha is the part of a new class of injectable, cholesterol-lowing drugs that work differently than older, statin drugs. The new drugs are considered the first major advance in lowering bad, or LDL, cholesterol in more than 20 years, and analysts expect them to generate billions in sales.

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Gov’t plans to erase student debt for Corinthian students

WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal government will erase much of the debt of students who attended the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges, officials announced Monday, as part of a new plan that could cost taxpayers as much as $3.6 billion.

Corinthian Colleges was one of the largest for-profit schools when it nearly collapsed last year and became a symbol of fraud in the world of higher education and student loans. According to investigators, Corinthian schools charged exorbitant fees, lied about job prospects for its graduates and, in some cases, encouraged students to lie about their circumstances to get more federal aid.

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Deutsche Bank shares soar on planned leadership change

BERLIN (AP) - Shares in Deutsche Bank soared Monday, a day after the company said its co-CEOs, Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen, will step down early.

The bank’s shares were up 5.1 percent in afternoon trading in Frankfurt at 29.02 euros - by far the biggest gainer on the DAX index of leading German shares, which was off 0.7 percent.

The rise follows Sunday’s statement from Germany’s biggest bank that Jain, 52, will depart at the end of this month while Fitschen, 66, will follow next May. Their successor will be British banker John Cryan, initially as co-CEO with Fitschen and then in sole charge. Cryan, 54, is currently a member of the company’s supervisory board.

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Shares of Humana rally on silence and a withdrawal

Humana has pulled out of a major health care conference and said it will not comment on rumors of a merger, actions that will likely fuel Wall Street speculation that the insurer is part of a developing deal.

Shares of the Medicare Advantage coverage provider, which hit an all-time high late last month, rose Monday while broader indexes slipped.

Humana said that it has received analyst and investor questions about its outlook and the possibility that it will “participate in industry consolidation.” The insurer said that as part of a long-standing policy it won’t comment on speculation and that it will observe a quiet period that lasts until it announces second-quarter results July 29.

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Justices to review Tyson Foods appeal over class-action suit

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to weigh new limits on the ability of workers to band together to dispute pay and workplace issues.

The justices said they will review a $5.8 million class-action judgment against Tyson Foods Inc. over the pay for more than 3,000 workers at its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant.

The case could allow the high court to elaborate on its 2011 decision blocking a massive sex-discrimination case against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that would have included up to 1.6 million female workers.

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Last-minute rush as deadline nears for oil spill settlement

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - People seeking money for losses from the 2010 BP oil spill rushed to file claims online or lined up outside Gulf Coast claims offices Monday as a midnight filing deadline loomed.

Claims are being filed for compensation under the terms of a 2012 settlement that plaintiffs’ lawyers struck with BP.

Patrick Juneau, the attorney appointed by a federal court to oversee the claims process, said there was a “substantial increase” in filings Monday. He said it would take days to arrive at a final figure, noting that claims also were being filed by mail and would be accepted as long as they were postmarked June 8.

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Obama leads calls for Greece to secure deal swiftly

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greece faced acute international pressure, notably from President Barack Obama, to secure a deal with creditors fast following days of acrimony that stoked fears of a Greek debt default and exit from the euro.

With Greece facing an end-of-month deadline to secure a deal, Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel led calls Monday for a swift resolution to Greece’s protracted bailout talks.

At the end of a G-7 summit in Elmau, Germany, Obama said there was a “sense of urgency” to resolve the situation.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 82.91 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,766.55, giving it a loss of 0.3 percent for 2015. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 13.55 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,079.28. The Nasdaq composite declined 46.83 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,021.63.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 99 cents to close at $58.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 62 cents to close at $62.69 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.3 cents to close at $2.007 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.5 cents to close at $1.855 a gallon. Natural gas rose 11.5 cents to close at $2.705 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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