Stocks coming off down week
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is coming off its worst week since early June. The key averages fell more than 2 percent. In Friday trading, the Dow gained 2 points at 13,329. The S&P fell 4 points, to 1,429 while the Nasdaq dropped 5 points to 3,044.
Asia stocks fall
BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower today as hopes dimmed for aggressive moves by China to stimulate its slowing economy.
China's consumer price index for September rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier, easing from August's 2 percent rise, but analysts said closer examination of the figures suggest China's government and central bank will be cautious about doing more to boost growth in the world's No. 2 economy.
Benchmark crude oil fell to hover above $91 per barrel. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen.
Retail sales report on tap today
WASHINGTON (AP) — A report on retail sales is first up this week as economic reports begin to come out. The government reading for September is seen rising less than 1 percent. Tomorrow, the Labor Department releases the Consumer Price Index, the main gauge of inflation at the retail level. Later, readings are due on housing starts and sales of previously-occupied homes, along with the index of leading economic indicators.
China's inflation eases, giving room for stimulus
BEIJING (AP) — China's inflation has fallen further, giving the government more room to stimulate its slowing economy.
The government reported Monday that consumer inflation fell to 1.9 percent in September from the previous month's 2 percent. Politically sensitive food prices rose 2.5 percent.
Lower inflation gives the government more room to cut interest rates or pump money into the slowing economy with less risk of igniting a new spike in prices.
Chinese authorities have been moving cautiously as they try to revive economic growth that fell to a three-year low in the quarter ending in June and is expected to decline further before rebounding.
Xbox Music to offer on-demand music free on tablet
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Buyers of tablets that run Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8, are in for a pleasant musical surprise.
They'll be able to pick from millions of songs and stream them for free as long as they put up with an audio ad every 15 minutes.
The new feature, called Xbox Music, is not on offer anywhere else at the moment.
Sweden's Spotify, for instance, allows free on-demand music on PCs but not tablets. That requires a $10 a month subscription.
Although it marks a step forward for the music industry, its appeal is limited by the expense of most mobile data plans. The free version of Xbox Music won't let you download songs and save them for offline playback. That requires paying $10 a month.
Report: Sprint reaches deal with Japan's Softbank
WASHINGTON (AP) — Japanese mobile phone company Softbank is agreeing to buy 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp. for $20 billion, according to a news report.
The deal is expected to be announced Monday, according to CNBC's web site, which cited anonymous sources "close to the situation."
The transaction could make Sprint, the third-largest U.S. mobile phone company, a tougher competitor against its bigger rivals, Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Sprint has 56 million subscribers, about half the amount of Verizon Wireless, the leading provider.
Softbank will buy $8 billion in shares from Sprint and another $12 billion from current Sprint shareholders, the CNBC report said.
John Taylor, a spokesman for Sprint, declined to comment beyond the company's statement last week confirming that it was in talks with Softbank.
Poll: Economists foresee weak but improving growth
CHICAGO (AP) — Economists foresee only tepid growth for the coming year, with unemployment back above 8 percent for the first half of 2013.
The good news: The housing market is recovering faster than expected and the economy likely won't fall off a "fiscal cliff."
The quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists released Monday predicts growth will be weak overall but should slowly accelerate through 2013.
The 44 economists surveyed now see gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced in the United States — rising just 1.9 percent in 2012 before reaching a 3 percent pace by the fourth quarter of next year.
Employment growth is forecast to weaken. The panel predicts that the unemployment rate will rise to 8.1 percent by the end of the year. The economy should add an average of 125,000 jobs per month during the fourth quarter, down from the economists' May forecast of 190,000 jobs.
The organization is made up of business economists and others who use economics in the workplace.
Amphibious vehicle to go on sale soon in US
DETROIT (AP) — Amphibious vehicles aren't just for James Bond anymore.
A one-person all-terrain vehicle that doubles as a personal watercraft is scheduled to go on sale by the end of this year.
The vehicle — called the Quadski — goes up to 45 miles per hour on land. To go in the water, the driver presses a button and the wheels fold into the sides in five seconds. The Quadski also goes 45 miles per hour in the water.
The Quadski will cost around $40,000. It will be sold at water sports dealerships in New York, Boston, the Great Lakes, Florida and Texas.
Michigan-based Gibbs Sports Amphibians says it has spent 16 years and $200 million developing the technology in the Quadski.
NBC Sports Group gets US rights to Formula One
UNDATED (AP) — NBC Sports Group has signed a four-year deal with Formula One for the exclusive U.S. media rights to the world's most popular global motorsports series.
The deal that begins next season will air four races on NBC. The remaining 16 races, and all practices and qualifying sessions will be on cable NBC Sports Network in what's expected to total more than 100 hours of annual programming.
The network's intent is to broadcast everything live, but is still working through a small number of scheduling conflicts. All 20 races will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Group's live-stream platform.
Cable network Speed had been the U.S. rights holder to F1 for the last 17 years, but told The Associated Press on Friday it had been outbid by another network.
'Taken 2' takes down 'Argo' in close weekend
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Liam Neeson's "Taken 2" has defended its box-office title with a narrow win over Ben Affleck's "Argo."
Sunday studio estimates put 20th Century Fox's action sequel "Taken 2" at No. 1 with $22.5 million in its second weekend. "Taken 2" raised its domestic total to $86.8 million.
Affleck's "Argo," an Iranian hostage thriller from Warner Bros., opened in second-place with $20.1 million.
Ethan Hawke's fright flick "Sinister," a Lionsgate release about a true-crime writer caught up in supernatural horror, debuted at No. 3 with $18.3 million.
Sony's "Here Comes the Boom," with Kevin James as a teacher who becomes a mixed martial arts sensation, started weakly at No. 5 with $12 million.