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Oct 21, 8:06 PM EDT

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Big slump is no cause to ditch stock market

NEW YORK (AP) - After more than five years of stock market gains, investors could be forgiven for worrying that big sell-offs may be the harbingers of bigger slumps.

But, even as stocks were plunging last week, strategists and professional investors were telling their clients that the volatility was no reason to abandon the market.

Worries about a slowdown in global growth drove oil prices and global stock indices sharply lower. Headlines about the spread of Ebola and the deepening conflict with Islamic State fighters in the Middle East also turned investors cautious.

Still, many investment strategists pointed out that the key factors supporting stocks during their current bull run market remain in place. The U.S. economy is still growing, and so are corporate earnings.

Most strategists say investors should take advantage of the opportunities that come with a stock sell-off.

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Ebola causing spike in demand for hospital gear

BALTIMORE (AP) - Manufacturers and distributors of impermeable gowns and full-body suits meant to protect medical workers from Ebola are scrambling to keep up with a surge of new orders from U.S. hospitals, with at least one doubling its staff and still facing a weekslong backlog. Many hospitals say they already have the proper equipment in place but are ordering more supplies to prepare for a possible new case of Ebola.

This gear is made of material that does not absorb fluids and is crucial to preventing the spread of the virus, which has infected thousands across West Africa, many of whom caught the disease while caring for those infected. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact, through cuts or mucous membranes, with bodily fluids such as blood, vomit and feces, and proper protective equipment helps prevent doctors and nurses from accidentally getting any fluids in their eyes, nose or mouth.

Hospitals are paying close attention to the type of protective gear they stock after two nurses contracted Ebola earlier this month while caring for a Liberian man dying of the disease at a Dallas hospital. .

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CVS tacks tobacco payment to prescription network

First, CVS Health pulled tobacco from its store shelves. Now, it plans to make some customers think twice about filling prescriptions at other stores that sell smokes.

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain is developing a new tobacco-free pharmacy network that it will offer as a choice to employers and other clients of its Caremark pharmacy benefits management business. Employers, insurers and unions hire pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, to run their prescription drug coverage.

The new CVS network will slap an extra co-payment on patients who fill their prescriptions at stores that sell tobacco. That payment won't apply to prescriptions filled at stores in the tobacco-free network, which would include CVS and Target or other stores that don't sell tobacco. Target Corp. quit selling tobacco in 1996.

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Yahoo's 3Q earnings soar on Alibaba windfall

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) - Yahoo's third-quarter earnings soared as the Internet company collected a huge windfall from Alibaba's recent IPO. Revenue also rose slightly from the previous year, a welcome change for a company that has been posting quarterly declines for most of the past five years.

The uptick included more than $200 million in revenue from mobile devices. That represented 17 percent of Yahoo's total revenue for the three months that ended in September, an indication that CEO Marissa Mayer's emphasis on designing sleeker applications for smartphones and tablets is starting to pay off.

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Top mortgage firm accused of abuses

One of the nation's largest servicers of home loans may have denied struggling borrowers the chance to fix loan problems and avoid foreclosures, New York's financial regulator has alleged.

An investigation by the state's Department of Financial Services found that Ocwen Financial Corp. inappropriately backdated foreclosure warnings and letters that rejected mortgage loan modifications, making it nearly impossible for borrowers to appeal the company's decision.

Many borrowers who had fallen behind on loan payments also received warning letters months after the deadline for avoiding foreclosure had passed, department investigators found.

Potentially hundreds of thousands of backdated letters may have been sent to borrowers, likely causing them "significant harm," Benjamin Lawsky, New York's Superintendent of Financial Services, wrote in a letter to Ocwen released Tuesday.

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Networks encourage fans to watch their competitors

NEW YORK (AP) - Please watch another channel.

That encouragement is popping up more and more during sports broadcasts. Viewers tuning into the National League Championship Series on Fox Sports 1 saw an ad behind the batter promoting the ALCS on TBS, and vice versa.

Sure, they're helping the competition, network executives say. They also believe they're helping themselves. If more fans get excited about the NLCS, the thinking goes, they'll also be more likely to watch the ALCS. And it's not as though the games are going head-to-head against each other.

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McDonald's CEO outlines changes as sales slide

NEW YORK (AP) - After posting yet another disappointing quarter, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson said Tuesday the company hasn't been keeping up with the times and that changes are in store for its U.S. restaurants.

Thompson said that starting in January McDonald's will "simplify" its menu to make room for restaurants to offer options that are best-suited for their regions. To offer greater customization, he also said the company planned to expand its "Create Your Taste" offering that lets people pick the buns and toppings they want on burgers by tapping a touchscreen. The program is currently being offered in Southern California, and McDonald's has said it will roll it out nationally in Australia.

The remarks came after McDonald's said sales at established locations fell 3.3 percent globally and in the U.S. division, marking the fourth straight quarter of declines in its home market. Profit sank 30 percent.

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China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

BEIJING (AP) - China's economic growth waned to a five-year low of 7.3 percent last quarter, raising concerns of a spillover effect on the global economy but falling roughly in line with Chinese leaders' plans for a controlled slowdown.

The third-quarter figures, released Tuesday, put China on course for annual growth somewhat lower than the 7.5 percent targeted by leaders, though they have indicated there is wiggle-room in their plan. The world's No. 2 economy grew 7.5 percent from a year earlier in the previous quarter and 7.4 percent in the first quarter.

Communist leaders are trying to steer China toward growth based on domestic consumption instead of over-reliance on trade and investment. But the slowdown comes with the risk of politically dangerous job losses and policymakers bolstered growth in the second quarter with mini-stimulus measures.

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The meaning of `organic' hazy for nonfood items

WASHINGTON (AP) - There's a strict set of standards for organic foods. But the rules are looser for household cleaners, textiles, cosmetics and the organic dry cleaners down the street.

Wander through the grocery store and check out the shelves where some detergents, hand lotions and clothing proclaim organic bona fides. Absent an Agriculture Department seal or certification, there are few ways to tell if those organic claims are bogus.

A shopper's only recourse is to do his or her own research.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 215.14 points, or 1.3 percent, to 16,614.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 37.27 points, or 2 percent, to 1,941.28. The Nasdaq composite rose 103.40 points, or 2.4 percent, to 4,419.48.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 10 cents to close at $82.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 82 cents to close at $86.22 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.3 cents to close at $2.213 a gallon, heating oil rose 2.7 cents to close at $2.513 a gallon and natural gas rose 4.1 cents to close at $3.711 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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