EARNS-JC PENNEYNEW YORK a¿¿ Even though J.C. Penney's latest results show the beleaguered retailer is hardly out of the woods, investors still see reasons to cheer. The department store chain's shares rose 6 percent on Wednesday after it reported its seventh straight quarter of big losses that together total more than $2.4 billion. So why are investors celebrating? By Anne D'Innocenzio. SENT: 540 words, photo. RETAIL SALES WASHINGTON a¿¿ An increase in spending at retailers last month amid the partial government shutdown suggests that the U.S. economy may be more resilient than some have feared. The 0.4 percent increase in retail sales in October shows that consumers remain willing to spend as the all-important holiday shopping season nears. Still, other data point to an economy that's still struggling to reach full health. By Josh Boak and Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 660 words, photo. SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK NEW YORK a¿¿ The parades and carnivals that draw people to downtown areas across the country this holiday season will be more than big celebrations. They're part of a strategy to get shoppers into small stores. Many shoppers are familiar with Small Business Saturday, the American Express campaign to encourage people to buy from independent retailers and other small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But a growing number of chambers of commerce, small business organizations and local retailer groups are holding events to persuade shoppers to forsake malls, big-box stores like Wal-Mart and the Internet in favor of local retailers. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 700 words, photos. a¿¿ SMALL-BIZ-STANDING OUT a¿¿ Independent retailers find ways to stand out from the crowd. SENT: 400 words. DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-XBOX ONE Microsoft wants you to think of Xbox One as more than a game machine. You can use it to watch movies on Netflix and Hulu Plus. You can hook it up to your cable box to watch live TV. You can Skype your grandma and share family photos through the SkyDrive storage service. Still, if you're considering buying an Xbox One this week, you probably have one thing in mind: games. By Lou Kesten. SENT: 970 words, photo.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:FED MINUTES WASHINGTON a¿¿ Members of the Federal Reserve agreed last month that they would likely start reducing their bond purchases in coming months if the job market improved further. They also weighed the possibility of slowing the purchases even without clear evidence of a strengthening job market. The Fed's bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low to spur spending and growth. The minutes of the Oct. 29-30 meeting, released Wednesday, also show that members wrestled with how to assure investors that even after they cut back on the $85 billion a month in bond buys, the Fed still intends to keep its key short-term rate near record lows. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 560 words, photos. HEALTH OVERHAUL-KEEPING YOUR DOCTOR WASHINGTON a¿¿ After they get the website fixed, then what? Keeping your doctors and hospitals may be the next vexing challenge for Americans in the new health plans created by President Barack Obama's law. By Ricardo Alonso-Zalvidar and Holly Ramer. SENT: 1,060 words, photos, video. HOME SALES WASHINGTON a¿¿ Fewer Americans bought existing homes in October, as higher mortgage rates, the 16-day partial government shutdown and a limited supply of houses on the market reduced sales. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 530 words, photo. CONSUMER PRICES WASHINGTON a¿¿Cheaper gasoline lowers overall U.S. consumer prices slightly in October. But outside the steep drop at the pump, inflation stayed mild. By Josh Boak. SENT: 480 words, photo. BUSINESS INVENTORIES WASHINGTON a¿¿ U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in September by the largest amount in eight months while sales posted a modest gain. Business inventories rose 0.6 percent in September compared with August, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Sales rose 0.2 percent. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 330 words, photo. EUROPE-ECONOMY The possibility of large-scale bond purchases by the European Central Bank has been broached in recent days as policymakers grapple with alarmingly low inflation and a muted economic recovery from recession. Even though the topic appears to be up for discussion, analysts say that the ECB may never take such a drastic step for both both political and practical reasons. By David McHugh. SENT: 590 words, photo.
WALL STREETNEW YORK a¿¿ The latest news from the Federal Reserve spooked investors. Stock and bond prices fell after minutes from the Fed's latest meeting showed that the U.S. economy was improving steadily enough to warrant a reduction in its stimulus program in "coming months." By Ken Sweet. SENT: 700 words, photo. a¿¿ OIL PRICES a¿¿The price of oil showed little change, closing down a penny at $93.31 a barrel, after the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting indicated that policymakers intend to soon begin winding down the central banks' economic stimulus. SENT: 330 words. a¿¿ JOBLESS BENEFITS a¿¿ Democrats on Capitol Hill have launched a drive to renew jobless benefits averaging less than $300 a week nationwide for people out of work for more than six months. SENT: 120 words. a¿¿ PUERTO RICO-ECONOMIC CRISIS a¿¿ The U.S. government is sending a team of federal officials to help Puerto Rico manage an economic crisis that has spooked investors as the U.S. territory braces for its eighth year of recession. SENT: 440 words. INDUSTRY: MACY'S PARADE-FLOAT FLAPS NEW YORK a¿¿ Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is awash in animal-related protests over its floats, with controversies involving the unlikely pairing of rocker Joan Jett and Shamu the killer whale. The float flaps threaten to shake Macy's traditional position of staying out of politics and soaring silently above the fray, like the massive balloons of Snoopy, Kermit the Frog and SpongeBob SquarePants. By Verena Dobnik. SENT: 640 words, photos, video. FLOOD INSURANCE WASHINGTON a¿¿ Efforts to delay implementation of changes in the federal flood insurance program have run into roadblocks on both sides of Capitol Hill. The leaders of the House Financial Services Committee say they are standing behind last year's bipartisan legislation to put the flood insurance program on sounder financial footing even as the implementation of the law has sparked a chorus of complaints from constituents fearing spikes in premiums and plummeting home values. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 890 words, photos.
a¿¿ TOUR BUSES-SEAT BELTS a¿¿ Federal regulators say they will require that new tour buses and buses that carry passengers on scheduled routes between cities be equipped with seat belts. It's a safety measure sought by accident investigators for nearly a half-century. SENT: 685 words, photos.a¿¿ GAS DRILLING-PUBLIC LANDS a¿¿ The Republican-controlled House is considering three energy bills aimed at speeding up drilling for oil and natural gas. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Updates after 2 p.m. vote. a¿¿ MCRIB-REGIONAL a¿¿ McDonald's, whose kitchens are juggling a variety of new menu items, says the McRib won't be available nationally this year. The fast-food chain says it's leaving it up to local franchise groups to decide whether to offer the pork sandwich this year. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by noon. a¿¿ DEVON ENERGY-ACQUISITION a¿¿ Devon Energy Corp. is buying oil-producing assets and other property in the Eagle Ford in Texas from GeoSouthern Energy for $6 billion. SENT: 300 words. a¿¿ GERMANY-THYSSENKRUPP a¿¿ German steel company ThyssenKrupp AG says it's in "exclusive negotiations" about the possible sale of its 3-year-old steel plant in Alabama. SENT: 110 words. a¿¿ PHILIP MORRIS INT'L-ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES a¿¿ Philip Morris International says it plans to enter the growing electronic cigarette business late next year. SENT: 130 words. EARNINGS: a¿¿ EARNS-LOWE'S a¿¿ Lowe's third-quarter net income increased 26 percent, as the home-improvement retailer was bolstered by the housing market's ongoing recovery. Its earnings were a penny per share short of Wall Street expectations, but revenue beat forecasts. SENT: 420 words, photo. a¿¿ EARNS DEERE a¿¿ Deere & Co.'s fourth-quarter net income rose 17 percent as it raised prices for its farm and construction equipment. But it predicted a slowdown in the farm economy and smaller profits for next year. SENT: 380 words, photo. AUTOS: AUTO SHOW-HOT WHEELS-CHEVROLET COLORADO
DETROIT a¿¿ GM has reimagined its small pickup truck to cater to outdoorsy folks who haul smelly wet dogs and kayaks. In other words, Subaru buyers. The new Chevrolet Colorado, to be unveiled Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, has little in common with the old version, which was noisy with a cheap-looking hard plastic interior that didn't appeal to many buyers. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 640 words, photo.AUTO SHOW-HOT CARS LOS ANGELES a¿¿ The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public Friday after two days of media previews. Here are some of the most buzz-worthy vehicles being introduced at this year's show. SENT: 800 words. a¿¿ AUTO SHOW-HOT WHEELS-SUBARU WRX a¿¿ Subaru is on a tear. The new WRX will help it go even faster. SENT: 450 words, photo. a¿¿ CRASH TEST-TESLA ADVERTISING a¿¿ The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is tightening the guidelines that control how automakers use government crash tests in advertising, after electric car company Tesla Motors promoted its electric Model S as the safest car in America, saying it earned a 5.4-star rating from the government. SENT: 390 words. TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA: SKIING-HELMET CAMS WILMINGTON, Vt. a¿¿ The latest must-have for the slopes has nothing to do with speed or comfort. It's a helmet cam so you can film your own trip down the mountain. Sales of the action cameras are up 50 percent, and one private resort in Vermont is even building an editing studio on the mountain to make it easier for skiers to prep the perfect clips for social media, grandma or their own records. By Samantha Critchell. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. SILICON VALLEY ROADSHOW MOUNTAIN VIEW, California a¿¿ From Google to Facebook to Apple, Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe plans to spend the day on a whirlwind tour through Silicon Valley's most elite tech campuses, hoping to convince some of the world's wealthiest and most successful corporate executives to share support and innovation with the poorest country in the Americas. By Martha Mendoza. SENT: 620 words, photo.
POLL-ONLINE SLURSWASHINGTON a¿¿ Young people sound remarkably blase about the ugly stuff they sometimes see online a¿¿ racial slurs, images that denigrate women or gays, videos mocking overweight people. Still, a majority of teens and twenty-somethings have come around to the idea that it's never OK to contribute to this ugly side of the Internet free-for-all, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV. By Connie Cass. SENT: 1200 words. UPCOMING: 1000 words by 4 p.m., photos, graphic. With: a¿¿POLL-ONLINE SLURS-GLANCE a¿¿ The most frequent target of online slams? Those who are overweight. A closer look at the poll numbers. UPCOMING: 500 words by 3 p.m., photo. a¿¿ TRIBUNE-JOB CUTS a¿¿ Tribune Co. says it's eliminating about 700 jobs as part of a restructuring of its newspaper business. SENT: 125 words. a¿¿ SWEDEN-IKEA RUSSIA a¿¿ Swedish furniture retailer IKEA says it has spiked an article about a lesbian couple in the Russian edition of its customer magazine because that would have contravened that county's law on gay propaganda. SENT: 120 words. a¿¿ RUPERT MURDOCH-DIVORCE a¿¿ Media baron Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, have reached a divorce settlement. SENT: 580 words. a¿¿ BET-THE GAME LAWSUIT a¿¿ A South Florida woman is suing the Black Entertainment Television network in a dispute over a Facebook page she developed to promote the show "The Game." SENT: 420 words. INTERNATIONAL: BRITAIN-BANK OF ENGLAND LONDON a¿¿ Bank of England policymakers vote unanimously to keep monetary policy unchanged despite growing signs that Europe's third-largest economy is on the mend. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 450 words. JAPAN-TRADE TOKYO a¿¿ Japan's trade deficit nearly doubled in October as growth in imports outpaced robust increases in exports to the U.S. and China. A weakening in the Japanese yen over the past year has helped exports, but it has also increased the cost in yen terms for imports, especially of oil and natural gas. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 480 words, photos.
a¿¿ WOMEN ON BOARDS a¿¿ The European Parliament has backed a proposal calling for a 40 percent quota of women on company boards by 2020. SENT: 100 words.a¿¿ RUSSIA-PLANE CRASH a¿¿ The last word the pilot of the Boeing 737 uttered was "circle." Moments later the jetliner slammed into the ground, investigators said Wednesday, killing all 50 people on board. Search teams found a tape of cockpit conversations which is expected to shed light upon the motives behind the series of faulty maneuvers that led to the crash. SENT: 570 words, photos. a¿¿ POLAND-GOVERNMENT a¿¿ Poland's prime minister fires Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski in a major government reshuffle aimed at breathing new energy into Poland's longest-serving team under democracy. SENT: 500 words, photo. a¿¿ THAILAND-INFRASTRUCTURE a¿¿ Thailand's Senate approved a bill that will allow the government to borrow $69.5 billion to build high-speed train lines and other transport infrastructure over the next seven years. SENT: 210 words. a¿¿ INDIA-HIDDEN BOUNTY a¿¿ Cleaners found a stash of 24 gold bars worth more than $1.1 million hidden in an airplane lavatory after a flight from Bangkok arrived in eastern India. SENT: 120 words. a¿¿ SWITZERLAND-GOLD RESERVES a¿¿ Swiss ministers are opposing a plan to haul back the country's gold reserves stored abroad. SENT: 140 words. PERSONAL FINANCE: ON THE MONEY-MILLENNIALS AND RETIREMENT Saving for retirement typically isn't high on the list of financial priorities for recent college grads and others just starting out in their careers. Many struggle to land a job, move out on their own or find ways to tackle student loan debt. Even so, millennials are in the best position to secure their golden years if they make time an ally and start saving early. Here are some ways workers in their 20s can begin saving for retirement. By Alex Veiga. 800 words by 6 p.m.
_____A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help. CENTERPIECE TJX rides high The holidays are approaching and shares of TJX hit an all-time high Tuesday. The discount retailer, which operates the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains, consistently has outperformed the broader market. Here's a snapshot look at what investors should know. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m. COMPANY SPOTLIGHT JM Smucker cuts outlook Shares of J.M. Smucker dropped sharply Wednesday. The company, whose brands include Jif, Folgers, and Pillsbury, said it expects revenue to decrease by about 2 percent compared with 2013. The company had previously predicted a revenue decrease of about 1 percent. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.