Business Highlights

By: The Associated Press
April 18, 2016 Updated: April 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm
0

___

Netflix is getting so original, it's overtaken HBO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix's race to make itself a leader in original programming is paying off. Last year it produced more exclusive shows, measured in hours, than HBO.

But its aggressive expansion isn't without cost; next month, it will raise prices for loyal subscribers, and it faces tougher competition from less expensive rivals.

In 2015, Netflix put out 450 hours of its own shows and movies, compared to 401 from Time Warner's HBO, according to numbers from both companies. This year, both Netflix and HBO promise roughly 600 hours of original material.

___

Hotels woo guests to book directly online with discounts

NEW YORK (AP) — Hotels are getting more aggressive in their fight to get travelers to book reservations directly with them instead of through online travel agencies such as Expedia and Priceline.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. on Monday became the latest chain to offer guests a discount for booking a room directly on its own website. Members of its Gold Passport loyalty program can save up to 10 percent at hotels in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

The move follows similar campaigns by Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

___

Disruptions from twin quakes in southern Japan hit economy

TOKYO (AP) — The twin earthquakes that struck southern Japan Thursday and early Saturday are having ripple effects far beyond the disaster zone.

Toyota to suspend production at most of its factories across the country. The quake damaged Honda's motorcycle plant in Kumamoto. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index tumbled more than 3 percent Monday, in part on worries over quake repercussions. But the economic impact is nowhere near as large as the havoc wreaked by the 2011 quake and tsunami disasters, which slammed supply chains so badly that Japanese automakers' production was halted even in the U.S.

___

Should woman go on $10 bill or $20 bill?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury officials declined to comment Monday on a report that Secretary Jacob Lew has decided to keep Hamilton on the $10 bill, and instead replace Jackson's portrait on the $20 bill with a woman.

A spokesman for the Treasury said a set of announcements will be made soon that involve the $5, $10 and $20 bills.

Lew last week did offer some hints about where the decision may be headed in an interview with CNBC, saying there may be use of "the front and the back of the bill to tell an exciting set of stories."

___

US homebuilder sentiment held steady in April

U.S. homebuilders' confidence held steady in April, reflecting an overall optimistic outlook in the market for new homes even as a gauge of current sales fell slightly.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday was unchanged at 58. It hasn't budged in three months. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index had been in the low 60s for eight months until February.

___

PepsiCo CEO: We're reducing our reliance on colas for sales

PURCHASE, N.Y. (AP) — PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said Monday the company is reshaping its product lineup to better reflect the growing interest in healthy eating and noted it has reduced its reliance on colas for sales.

The maker of Frito-Lay snacks, Mountain Dew and Quaker Oats now gets less than 25 percent of its global sales from soda.

The remarks underscore PepsiCo's recent shift in tone as the world's biggest soda brands have been pressured by intensifying competition and a bad image for fueling weight gain in markets such as the U.S.

___

Drone collision with jet highlights growing aviation danger

LONDON (AP) — A collision between a British Airways passenger jet and a drone over London has left the plane undamaged but the aviation industry deeply shaken.

The plane struck the drone Sunday as it was approaching Heathrow airport. It landed safely but the incident has focused attention on the growing number of unregulated drones in the sky and the potential for disaster if they hit a plane — either accidentally or on purpose.

London's Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Martin Hendry said the incident "highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and sometimes malicious use of drones."

___

Carnival may delay Cuba cruise over discrimination concerns

MIAMI (AP) — Faced with protests, political pressure and a lawsuit, Carnival Corp. announced Monday it will allow Cuban-born passengers to book cruises to the island but will delay the trips if Cuba does not change its policy barring nationals from returning by sea.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said that the cruise line is continuing negotiations with Cuba aimed at resolving the issue prior to a scheduled May 1 cruise by its Fathom brand from Miami to Cuba — the first such sail in more than 50 years.

"We want everyone to be able to go to Cuba with us," Donald said.

___

Bill Campbell, mentor to Steve Jobs, other tech CEOs, dies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bill Campbell, a former Ivy League football coach who became a management guru for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley luminaries, has died. He was 75.

His death Monday was confirmed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, a venture capital firm that often called upon Campbell to help mold entrepreneurs as they tried to manage the rapid growth often triggered by their innovations. Campbell died after a long battle with cancer, according to the firm, which was speaking on behalf of his family.

Although he wasn't widely known outside Silicon Valley, Campbell played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of both Apple and Google, two of the world's most powerful companies.

___

Nordstrom to cut from 350 to 400 jobs

NEW YORK (AP) — Nordstrom Inc. says it will be cutting about 350 to 400 jobs as it looks to be more nimble at a time where shoppers are shifting their spending more online.

The upscale department store, based in Seattle, says the cuts will be primarily in its corporate center and regional support teams. The process should be completed by the end of its fiscal second quarter. The changes will mean $60 million in savings for the current fiscal year.

Nordstrom says that it's first looking at closing unfilled open positions to minimize the impact on current employees.

___

Argentina returns to international credit markets

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina has returned to global bond markets for the first time in 15 years.

The South American country announced a $10 billion-$15 billion bond issue Monday. The proceeds will help pay a group of holdout creditors who refused debt restructurings after Argentina defaulted on $100 billion of bonds in 2001.

President Mauricio Macri campaigned last year on promises to boost the continent's second-largest economy by putting an end to a longstanding debt dispute.

___

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 106.70 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,004.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.61 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,094.34. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 21.80 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,960.02.

U.S. crude fell 58 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $39.78 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, lost 19 cents, or 0.4 percent, to close at $42.91 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell about 2 cents to $1.44 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $1.24 a gallon. Natural gas rose about 4 cents, or 2 percent, to $1.94 per 1,000 cubic feet.