Business Highlights


Some victims in mass shooting support efforts to hack iPhone

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some victims and affected families in the mass shootings in southern California support a U.S. magistrate judge’s order that Apple help the FBI hack into a locked iPhone of a shooter.

Los Angeles attorney Stephen Larson said he represents several families of victims and other employees who were affected by the shootings. He plans to file a brief supporting the Justice Department before March 3.

The victims, he says, have questions that go “beyond the criminal investigation … in terms of why this happened, how this happened, why they were targeted.”


Uber got complaints about Kalamazoo suspect’s driving

DETROIT (AP) — Ride-hailing company Uber received a complaint about erratic driving by Jason Dalton Saturday night, but says it never could have predicted the violent acts Dalton allegedly committed.

Dalton was charged Monday with killing six people in random shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that began around 6 p.m. Saturday and ended nearly five hours later.

Uber security chief Joe Sullivan said the company received complaints about Dalton from several passengers on Saturday, including one about dangerous and erratic driving.


Zuckerberg to press on with Internet access despite setback

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed Monday to press on with his 3-year-old effort to bring the developing world online, even after Indian regulators banned one of the pillars of the campaign.

He said the banned service, Free Basics, was only one program in his campaign, so he could proceed with other initiatives. Indian regulators banned Free Basics this month because it provided access only to certain pre-approved services — including Facebook — rather than the full Internet.

“Facebook isn’t a company that hits a roadblock and gives up,” Zuckerberg said at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain. “We take the hits and try to get better.”


Pound plunges as Cameron makes pro-EU case in UK Parliament

LONDON (AP) — A vote to leave the European Union would be “a great leap into the unknown” at a perilous time for Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday, as uncertainty over the U.K.’s future sent the pound plunging on currency markets.

Cameron told lawmakers that membership in the 28-nation EU boosted the country’s economy and security. The political battle for Britain’s future has entered high gear ahead of a June 23 referendum.

“Leaving the EU may briefly make us feel more sovereign,” he said, but argued the U.K. would be “stronger, safer and better off” within the EU.


Oil prices lift the market again as energy stocks rally

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks jumped Monday as the price of oil surged again, lifting energy stocks as well as mining and chemicals companies. Indexes in Europe and Asia also rose as investors hoped for stimulus to strengthen the economies of those regions and boost sales of energy, building materials and other goods.

The price of U.S. oil rose more than 6 per cent after a group of oil-importing countries said energy stockpiles will grow at a slower pace. Metals companies Alcoa and Freeport-McMoRan climbed as investors hoped a stronger global economy will mean greater demand for their products. Amazon led a rally in consumer stocks.


IEA: Slashed spending by drillers could lead to price spike

HOUSTON (AP) — Oil prices will more than double by 2020 as current low prices lead drillers to cut investment in new production and gradually reduce the glut of crude, the head of a group of oil-importing countries said Monday.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said oil would rise gradually to about $80 a barrel.

Oil prices shot to more than $100 a barrel in mid-2014 before a long slide sent them crashing below $30 last month.


US economy growing but faces international headwinds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy has just completed the best two years of job growth since the 1990s, wages are on the rise and consumers are more confident about the economy than they’ve been in more than a decade. But the United States faced global headwinds that will continue this year, President Barack Obama’s economic advisers said Monday in a new report.

The advisers also made several recommendations to reduce income inequality, though many of them rely on co-operation from a wary GOP-led Congress as well as state and local governments.


Lumber Liquidators stock plunges on revised CDC report

NEW YORK (AP) — Lumber Liquidators’ stock plunged Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people exposed to certain types of the company’s laminate flooring were three times more likely to get cancer than the agency previously predicted.

The CDC said its original report had used an incorrect value for ceiling height to assess the exposure. It now estimates the risk of cancer at six to 30 cases per 100,000 people. It previously estimated two to nine cases per 100,000 people.

The agency’s recommendations will likely stay the same — that people reduce exposure to formaldehyde emitted from the flooring.


Starbucks changes rewards program; small spenders lose

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks is changing the terms of its rewards program so that people who spend around $5 or less per visit won’t get as many freebies.

The coffee chain says its loyalty program will award stars based on the dollars spent starting in April. Currently, people earn a star for each transaction, regardless of how much they spend, and get a free food or item of their choice after earning 12 stars.

People will now have to earn 125 stars for a free item, with each dollar spent being worth two stars — meaning they have to spend $62.50 to get their free item.


Verizon to buy fiber-optic business for about $1.8 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon says it will pay $1.8 billion to buy the fiber-optic network business of XO Communications, in a deal that the wireless phone company said would improve service for its customers.

XO Communications, based in Herndon, Virginia, owns and operators networks that its customers use for Internet access, cloud computing and other uses. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is chairman and sole shareholder of the company.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 228.67 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 16,620.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 27.72 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 1,945.50. The Nasdaq composite index gained 66.18 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 4,570.61.

Benchmark U.S. crude climbed $1.84, or 6.2 per cent, to $31.48 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose $1.68, or 5.1 per cent, to $34.69 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1 a gallon and heating oil added 3 cents to $1.06 a gallon. Natural gas inched up 2 cents to $1.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.