BC-APFN-Business News Digest

Business News at 5 p.m.

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All times EDT.

a¿¿Adds: FEDERAL RESERVE-COMPARING STATEMENTS, ARGENTINA-DEBT SHOWDOWN

a¿¿Updates: FED FORECASTS, OBAMA, GAS TAX INCREASE, FEDERAL RESERVE, CYPRUS-ECONOMY, WALL STREET, GM-RECALL-BY THE NUMBERS, AMAZON-SMARTPHONE, SMALLBIZ-INSTAGRAM, GENERAL MOTORS-CONGRESS, OIL PRICES, ARGENTINA-DEBT SHOWDOWN

TOP STORIES:

GENERAL MOTORS-CONGRESS

WASHINGTON a¿¿Lawmakers express disbelief at General Motors' explanation for why it took 11 years to recall millions of small cars with defective ignition switches, and also confront its chief executive with evidence that the company dragged its feet on a similar safety issue in different vehicles. By Marcy Gordon, Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

With:

a¿¿ GENERAL MOTORS-INVESTIGATION-TIMELINE a¿¿ 10 key events in GM's small-car recall. SENT: 470 words.

a¿¿ GENERAL MOTORS-CONGRESS-QUOTE BOX a¿¿ Key quotes from, and reaction to, the GM hearing in the House. UPCOMING: 500 words by 5:30 p.m.

a¿¿ GM-RECALL-BY THE NUMBERS a¿¿ Important numbers in GM's small-car recall. SENT: 350 words.

a¿¿ GM RECALL-EMPLOYEE WARNING a¿¿ A GM employee warned her colleagues in 2005 of an ignition switch problem in Chevrolet Impalas that could lead to "a big recall." That recall didn't happen until this week. UPCOMING: 400 words at 5:30 p.m.

And:

a¿¿ CHRYSLER-NHTSA INVESTIGATION a¿¿ The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has opened two new investigations into Chrysler over complaints that the ignition key could shut the engine off and cause air bags not to deploy in a crash. SENT: 650 words.

AMAZON-SMARTPHONE

SEATTLE a¿¿ Amazon has introduced a new smartphone with audio and object recognition technology that seeks to make it easier for consumers to locate and purchase products and services from the nation's largest e-commerce company. By Ryan Nakashima. SENT: 960 words, photos.

With:

DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-AMAZON PRIME

AMHERST, Ohio a¿¿ Spending $99 a year for an Amazon Prime membership to get free shipping hardly seems like a deal. After all, I can usually get free shipping anyway by spending at least $35 on a single order. But the benefits became apparent gradually over the nine months I've used it. Some features work only with a Kindle e-reader or tablet a¿¿ and likely with a new smartphone that Amazon is expected to unveil Wednesday. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 800 words, photo.

FEDERAL RESERVE

WASHINGTON a¿¿ The Federal Reserve will further slow the pace of its bond purchases because a strengthening U.S. job market needs less support. But it's offering no clear signal about when it will start raising its benchmark short-term rate. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 570 words, photos.

With:

a¿¿ FEDERAL RESERVE-COMPARING STATEMENTS a¿¿ comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting April 29-30. SENT: 120 words.

a¿¿ FEDERAL RESERVE-STATEMENT TEXT a¿¿ SENT: 830 words.

SMALLBIZ-INSTAGRAM

NEW YORK a¿¿ A picture on Instagram is worth thousands of dollars for Limelight Extensions. Phones start ringing at the Farmington Hills, Michigan, salon almost every time co-owner Miranda Jade Plater posts pictures of hairstyles or the company's hair extensions on the photo-sharing app. Once, a single photo of Plater wearing long and curly hair extensions generated more than $10,000 in sales. Small business owners say that Instagram is an increasingly important part of their social media strategy, helping them drive sales, gain more customers and develop their brands. Here's how they're doing it. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 1,080 words, photo, and slideshow. This story stands for SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK.

With:

a¿¿ SMALLBIZ-INSTAGRAM-PHOTO GALLERY a¿¿ A slideshow of small business owners' Instagram shots.

a¿¿ SMALLBIZ-INSTAGRAM GLANCE a¿¿ Tips for small businesses that want to use Instagram.

GULF LABOR-MIDDAY RELIEF

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates a¿¿ An annual midday work ban goes into effect this month across much of the Arabian Peninsula to protect construction workers and outdoor laborers from the risks of direct sunlight and extremely high temperatures during the hottest summer months. By Aya Batrawy. SENT: 790 words, photos.

WORLD CUP-GAMBLING

HONG KONG a¿¿ As teams battle for football glory at the World Cup in Brazil, the biggest winners from the tournament may be illegal bookmakers in Asia. Demand for bets from Asian sports enthusiasts illustrates how the World Cup is also a huge bonanza for betting companies while focusing attention on the surge in illegal wagering in East Asia, where there are few legal options to accommodate the lucrative market. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

WALL STREET

NEW YORK a¿¿ Stocks close higher after the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy was doing well enough for the central bank to make further reductions to its stimulus program. By Alex Veiga. SENT: 500 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5:30 p.m.

FED FORECASTS

WASHINGTON a¿¿ The Federal Reserve has sharply cut its forecast for U.S. growth this year, reflecting a shrinking economy last quarter caused mostly by harsh weather. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 260 words.

CURRENT ACCOUNT

WASHINGTON a¿¿ A drop in U.S. exports and lower income from overseas investments drive the U.S. current account deficit to its highest level in 18 months. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 400 words, photo.

a¿¿ OIL PRICES a¿¿ The price of U.S. oil falls below $106 per barrel for the first time in a week on higher than expected supplies, though global crude rose to a 9-month high as violence in Iraq continued.. SENT: 220 words.

a¿¿ HEDGE FUND-INSIDER TRADING a¿¿ A New York City insider trading trial is underway for the brother of an imprisoned onetime billionaire hedge fund founder. SENT: 430 words.

a¿¿ IRS-AMNESTY a¿¿ The Internal Revenue Service is offering to waive steep penalties for Americans living abroad who haven't been paying their U.S. taxes. SENT: 590 words.

a¿¿ CONGRESS-SPENDING a¿¿ A massive spending bill to fund five Cabinet departments for the upcoming budget year is about to hit the Senate floor, giving senators a rare opportunity for open debate on legislation of any kind. SENT: 640 words.

INDUSTRY:

OBAMA

WASHINGTON a¿¿ As part of a weekslong emphasis on the economy, President Barack Obama promoting the use of new tools and techniques to start up new businesses, to boost manufacturing and to strengthen science and math education. By Stacy Anderson. SENT: 400 words.

REDSKINS-NAME

WASHINGTON a¿¿ A federal trademark board rules that the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's trademark protections should be canceled, a decision that applies new financial and political pressure on the team to change its name. The 2-1 ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board came in a case that has been working its way through legal channels for more than two decades. It doesn't force the team to abandon the name, but it comes at a time of increasing criticism of team owner Dan Snyder from political, religious and sports figures who say it's time for a change. By Joseph White. SENT: 660 words, photos.

GREAT LAKES-PLASTIC POLLUTION

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. a¿¿ Environmentalists in Illinois expected a battle royal over their call for a statewide ban on "microbeads" a¿¿ tiny bits of plastic used in personal care products such as facial scrubs and toothpaste that are flowing by the billions into the Great Lakes and other waterways. But instead of resisting, leading companies quickly collaborated on a ban that was enacted by the state legislature this spring. And with similar measures now pending in at least three other large states, the extinction of microbeads is taking shape as one of the unlikeliest events in the politics of nature: a low-stress compromise by interest groups that are often at each other's throats. By John Flesher. SENT: 750 words, photos.

a¿¿ SMALLBIZ-LENDING a¿¿ Banks are making it easier for small businesses to get loans, and they're giving companies better terms and lower interest rates, according to researchers at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. SENT: 430 words.

a¿¿ BEHIND-THE-WHEEL-LEXUS RX a¿¿ Buyers of luxury sport utility vehicles keep choosing one SUV a¿¿ the Lexus RX a¿¿ in greater numbers than any other. It's easy to see why. SENT: 1,000 words, box.

a¿¿ VALEANT-ALLERGAN a¿¿ Valeant Pharmaceuticals says it has launched a bid for Allergan, the maker of Botox. SENT: 180 words.

a¿¿ GAS TAX INCREASE a¿¿ Two senators are proposing to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time in more than two decades as Congress struggles with how to pay for highway and transit programs. SENT: 640 words.

a¿¿ PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS a¿¿ Philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest is now the sole owner of Philadelphia's largest newspapers, after his late partner's family sold its $16 million stake. SENT: 140 words.

a¿¿ WOODS-BAD DEAL a¿¿ Tiger Woods will have a new sponsor on his bag when he returns to competition, signing an endorsement deal with Denver-based MusclePharm Corp. that could include his own line of nutrition products. SENT: 580 words.

a¿¿ CAR QUALITY-RANKINGS a¿¿ The race to fill vehicles with the latest technology is hurting quality. J.D. Power says buyers reported more problems with new cars and trucks this year than last year. SENT: 500 words.

a¿¿ OIL TRAINS-EMERGENCY ORDER a¿¿ Montana officials said Wednesday that they intend to release details next week on oil trains passing through the state, despite efforts by railroads to keep the information from the public after a string of fiery accidents raised safety concerns. SENT: 590 words.

a¿¿ MEN'S WEARHOUSE-JOS A BANK a¿¿ The Men's Wearhouse fight to own its one-time rival Jos. A. Bank is now complete. SENT: 140 words.

EARNINGS:

a¿¿ EARNS-FEDEX a¿¿ FedEx Corp. says its quarterly profit rose as growth in online shopping gave its ground-shipping business a lift. The earnings of $2.46 per share beat Wall Street's forecast by a dime. SENT: 640 words, photo.

a¿¿ SWEDEN-EARNS-SAS a¿¿ Scandinavian airline group SAS says it will make more cutbacks, including 300 layoffs, after the company's second-quarter net loss doubled to 800 million kronor ($120 million) and revenue dipped 15 percent in the period. SENT: 130 words.

a¿¿ SWEDENT-EARNS-H&M a¿¿ Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB says its second-quarter earnings rose 25 percent as online expansion and new store openings boosted sales. SENT: 130 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

a¿¿ BLACKBERRY APPS a¿¿ BlackBerry is adding the Amazon Appstore in the next update to its operating system this fall. SENT: 100 words.

a¿¿ GENEALOGY SITE HACKED a¿¿ Ancestry.com says the popular genealogy site was offline much of Tuesday after being hacked. SENT: 120 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

AUSTRALIA-US MARINES

CANBERRA, Australia a¿¿ The growing number of U.S. Marines in northern Australia is enhancing the security of the nation's burgeoning gas industry, which extends across the remote and sparsely populated northern coast, a senior American general says. Maj. Gen. Richard L. Simcock, Hawaii-based deputy commander of U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific, was commenting after an executive of U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. told a conference of concerns that gas rigs off the Australian northwest coast and tankers shipping liquid natural gas through Southeast Asian waters could be vulnerable to attack. SENT: 540 words.

With:

a¿¿ AUSTRALIA-US TRADE a¿¿ A trans-Pacific free trade pact could be agreed upon early next year before U.S. presidential election politics get in the way, Australia's trade minister says. SENT: 350 words.

a¿¿ ARGENTINA-DEBT SHOWDOWN a¿¿A lawyer says Argentina will negotiate with U.S. hedge funds that are owed $1.5 billion for defaulted bonds. SENT: 140 words, photos. UPCOMING: xxx words by xx p.m.

a¿¿ ASIA-ENERGY a¿¿ The Asian Development Bank and two U.N. agencies launched a hub Wednesday to mobilize investments and innovation to bring clean energy to the Asia Pacific region, where more than 600 million people lack electricity and 1.8 billion use firewood and charcoal at home. SENT: 500 words.

a¿¿ EUROPE-BUDGET RULES a¿¿ German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making clear she won't back changes to the 18-nation eurozone's budget deficit rules after her deputy signaled greater flexibility. SENT: 150 words.

a¿¿ JAPAN-CHILD PORN a¿¿ Japan's parliament passes a law which bans possession of child pornography, but excludes sexually explicit depictions of children in comics, animation and computer graphics. Japan is the last major industrial country to criminalize possession of child pornography. SENT: 370 words, photo.

a¿¿ JAPAN-CASINOS a¿¿ Japanese lawmakers began debate on a bill that would allow casino resorts in an attempt to attract more foreign tourists and investment. SENT: 340 words.

a¿¿ UKRAINE-PIPELINE BLAST a¿¿ An explosion at a key pipeline in Ukraine has not disrupted the flow of gas to Europe, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom says. The blast, which occurred Tuesday far from where government troops are fighting pro-Russia separatists, came a day after Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine in a dispute over price and overdue payments. SENT: 250 words.

a¿¿ VIETNAM-CHINA a¿¿ A top Chinese diplomat and Vietnamese officials make no progress in talks about an increasingly bitter confrontation over a giant oil rig China deployed in the disputed South China Sea, officials said. SENT: 400 words, photos.

a¿¿ BRITAIN-ECONOMY a¿¿ Policymakers at the Bank of England vote unanimously to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent a¿¿ unwilling to tamper with an economy that is returning to normal. SENT: 130 words.

a¿¿ CYPRUS-ECONOMY a¿¿ Cyprus raises 750 million euros ($1.017 million) from international markets with its first public issue of bonds since last year's international bailout saved it from bankruptcy. SENT: 420 words.

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

Mid-year global scorecard

Emerging markets have rebounded from a slow 2013, when many investors fled due to fears of slowing economic growth. India, Indonesia and Turkey are three of the top-performing markets around the globe. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

ConAgra cuts outlook

Shares of ConAgra Foods sank Wednesday after the company warned that it expects to report lower fourth-quarter net income than previously forecast. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

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