AP Business NewsBrief at 12:35 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Verizon moves pension obligations to PrudentialNEW YORK (AP) _ Phone company Verizon has transferred $7.5 billion in pension obligations to Prudential Insurance after a retiree association failed to convince a court to stop the move. Members of the Association of BellTel Retirees sued in federal court in Dallas two weeks ago to stop the deal, saying it would weaken the legal protections for retirees. It effectively turns the company's defined-benefit pensions into annuities to be paid by Prudential. Annuities aren't covered by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Government investigating makers of cellphone appsWASHINGTON (AP) _ Software companies that make cellphone apps are being investigated to determine whether they have violated the privacy rights of children by quietly collecting personal information from phones and sharing it with advertisers and data brokers, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday. Such apps can capture a child's physical location, phone numbers of their friends and more. The FTC described the marketplace for mobile applications _ dominated by online stores operated by Apple and Google _ as a digital danger zone with inadequate oversight. In a report prepared by the FTC's own experts, it said the industry has grown rapidly but failed to ensure the privacy of young consumers is adequately protected.
Stocks edge higher; Dow is boosted by McDonald'sNEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks inched higher on Wall Street Monday after a strong sales report from McDonald's helped offset concerns about the surprise resignation of Italy's prime minister, Mario Monti. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 26 points at 13,181, as of 11:56 a.m. The Standard and Poor's 500 was up two points at 1,420. The Nasdaq composite was up 13 points at 2,991.
Report: Kodak gets patent bid from Apple, GoogleNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple and Google, bitter rivals in smartphone technology, have joined up to make a combined bid for a bundle of patents offered by photography pioneer Kodak, according to a published report. Bloomberg News reported Saturday that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. have abandoned competing bids for the portfolio to offer a combined $500 million. The sum is the minimum Kodak can sell the patents for and still get an $830 million loan that's crucial to getting the company out of bankruptcy.
McDonald's November sales figure risesNEW YORK (AP) _ McDonald's Corp. said Monday that a key sales figure rose in November, as U.S. customers snapped up the world's biggest hamburger chain's breakfast offerings and limited-time Cheddar Bacon Onion sandwiches. The increase follows a decline in October, the first drop in McDonald's key monthly sales gauge in nearly a decade.
Italian election means new stress for eurozoneFRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Until last weekend, Europe seemed headed for a quiet Christmas and New Year's. Then Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti unexpectedly announced he would resign, pulling the plug on a government that had boosted confidence in the country's ability to manage its debts. The prospect of a return to a shaky government and shakier finances has suddenly put new strains on the leaders of the 17-strong group of European Union countries that use the euro and their efforts to bottle up the region's debt and economic crisis.
4 years in, Madoff trustee still pursuing assetsNEW YORK (AP) _ When he was first told in 2008 about Bernard Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme, attorney David Sheehan had a response that now sounds inconceivable. "Who," he wondered, "is Bernie Madoff "
Stock market is a wild card in fiscal cliff talksWASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress and the White House can significantly soften the initial impact of the "fiscal cliff" even if they fail to reach a compromise by Dec. 31. One thing they cannot control, however, is the financial markets' reaction, which possibly could be a panicky sell-off that triggers economic reversals worldwide. The stock market's unpredictability is perhaps the biggest wild card in the political showdown over the fiscal cliff.
Obama heading to Michigan to push taxes on richWASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama is pressing for public support Monday to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, a day after he and House Speaker John Boehner met one-on-one for the first time to discuss ways to avert the "fiscal cliff." Neither side provided details of the weekend meeting at the White House. But with just three weeks until a flurry of tax hikes and spending cuts start taking effect, the mere fact that the meeting happened was seen as progress.
AP Source: Obama to help unveil factory expansionDETROIT (AP) _ President Barack Obama will help announce expansion of a truck engine plant when he visits a Detroit suburb on Monday. The president is visiting the area to build support for his plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff," the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that are to take effect in January unless a budget deal is reached.
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