Toyota retakes global auto sales crown from GM
DETROIT (AP) — Toyota has once again dethroned General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker.
The Japanese company sold 9.7 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2012, and it's still counting. GM sold 9.29 million.
Both companies saw higher sales, but Toyota's growth was far larger as it rolled out new versions of popular models like the Camry. GM executives promised sales growth this year, especially in the U.S. Both companies say publicly that they don't care about who wins, but concede that the crown is an important morale booster for employees.
Dell's stock soars on report of possible buyout
ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) — Dell's stock soared 13 percent Monday on a report that the struggling personal computer maker is in talks to take the company private.
Citing unidentified people familiar with the situation, Bloomberg News said Dell has discussed a potential sale with at least two firms that specialize in buying companies that have fallen out of favor with investors. The report didn't name the interested firms.
Dell Inc., based in Round Rock, Texas, declined to comment.
Apple shares fall on report of parts orders cuts
NEW YORK (AP) — Apple shares fell below $500 for a time on Monday for the first time since February.
The drop came after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company has cut its orders for iPhone 5 components due to weaker-than-expected demand.
The newspaper said that two people it did not identify told it that Apple's first quarter orders for iPhone 5 screens have dropped to about half of what the company had previously planned to order.
It says one of the unidentified people told the newspaper that the Cupertino, Calif., company has also cut orders for components other than screens.
UPS abandons $6.9 billion deal for TNT Express
UPS scrapped plans to grow in Europe through the acquisition of Dutch delivery company TNT Express because European regulators were getting ready to reject the $6.9 billion deal.
It would have been the largest acquisition in UPS history.
UPS offered in March to buy TNT, Europe's second-largest delivery company, to better compete with Europe's largest, Deutsche Post's DHL. Regulators objected, saying the deal would reduce competition in the market for express delivery of small packages. UPS said Monday that it had proposed "tangible remedies," but after meeting with regulators on Friday, the Atlanta company told TNT it saw no prospect of the deal being approved.
Coca-Cola to address obesity for first time in ads
NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola became one of the world's most powerful brands by equating its soft drinks with happiness. Now it's taking to the airwaves for the first time to address a growing cloud over the industry: obesity.
The Atlanta-based company on Monday will begin airing a two-minute spot during the highest-rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC in hopes of flexing its marketing muscle in the debate over sodas and their impact on public health. The ad lays out Coca-Cola's record of providing drinks with fewer calories and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda.
For Coca-Cola, the world's No. 1 beverage company, the ads reflect the mounting pressures on the broader industry. Later this year, New York City is set to enact a first-in-the-nation cap on the size of soft drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas. The mayor of Cambridge, Mass., has already introduced a similar measure, saying she was inspired by New York's move.
Obama demands quick action to raise debt limit
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama demanded on Monday that lawmakers raise the nation's $16.4 trillion federal debt limit quickly, warning that "Social Security benefits and veterans' checks will be delayed" if they don't and cautioning Republicans not to insist on cuts to government spending in exchange.
"They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the economy," he said at the 21st and final news conference of his first term. "The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip. And they better decide quickly because time is running short."
Answering questions for about an hour, Obama also said he will soon ask Congress to enact new gun control legislation in the wake of the shootings that left 20 elementary students dead at a Newtown, Conn., school a little more than a month ago.
Investors exit stock funds for 6th year in a row
BOSTON (AP) — Investors pulled money from stock mutual funds in 2012 for the sixth year in a row, despite the stock market's strong performance. Bond funds attracted the most cash since 2009, another illustration of how conservative investors have become with their money since the financial crisis.
A net $90 billion was withdrawn from U.S. stock mutual funds last year, industry consultant Strategic Insight said on Monday. The total included $26 billion pulled out in December, the tenth month in a row that withdrawals have exceeded deposits.
The full-year total was the largest since 2008, when $136 billion was removed. Since 2007, the year that the stock market hit a historic high, nearly $405 billion has been withdrawn.
Swatch in $1 billion deal for Harry Winston brand
GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland's biggest watch maker, Swatch Group AG, will pay about $1 billion to buy Canada's Harry Winston watch and jewelry brand, officials from both companies said Monday.
The Biel, Switzerland-based company agreed to pay $750 million to acquire the brand from Toronto-based Harry Winston Diamond Corp. and will also assume as much as $250 million in debt, a joint statement said.
The acquisition includes the Harry Winston production company in Geneva and more than 500 employees globally.
JPMorgan told to fix oversight tied to $6 billion loss
WASHINGTON (AP) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been ordered to take steps to correct poor risk management that led to a surprise trading loss last year of more than $6 billion.
Federal regulators also on Monday cited the bank for lapses in oversight that allowed the bank to be used for money laundering.
JPMorgan, the nation's largest bank by assets, will not pay a fine under the agreements with the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, a Treasury Department agency. The bank promised to strengthen its policies and procedures to control risk and to screen customers to prevent money laundering.
E-book reading on the rise among young people
NEW YORK (AP) — E-books may finally be catching on with the toughest of customers: young people.
A report commissioned by children's publisher Scholastic Inc. finds that 46 percent of respondents aged 9-17 had read an e-book as of last year, compared to just 25 percent in 2010. And around half of those who have not read an e-book say they want to do so. But the appeal of paper remains. Around 80 percent of kids who read an e-book still read print books, according to Monday's report.
While e-books are believed to comprise around 25 to 30 percent of total book sales, the number has been much lower among children. The rise of iPads and other tablets has helped vastly expand the availability of picture books and other children's books in electronic format.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 18.89 points to 13,507.32. The S&P 500 fell 1.37 point to 1,470.68. The Nasdaq composite index fell 8.13 points to 3,117.50.
Benchmark oil rose 58 cents to finish at $94.15 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, gained $1.24 to finish at $111.88 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Heating oil futures rose 5.4 cents to end at $3.06 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to end at $2.75 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4.6 cents to finish at $3.37 per 1,000 cubic feet, continuing a rally from late last week.