Update on the latest in business:


Energy stocks lead a turnaround on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors will have their eyes on a batch of earnings reports scheduled to be released today.

About a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index, including Exxon Mobil and Apple, will report earnings this week. The reports have been good so far, but concerns remain about the outlook for the rest of the year.

Stocks edged higher on Monday as energy stocks got a lift from recovering oil prices. The Dow rose 20 points to close at 14,567. The S&P 500 increased seven points to 1,562, while the Nasdaq composite added 27 points to 3,233.

The energy industry climbed 1 percent, making it the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. Oil rose 75 cents to $88.76 a barrel Monday. A week ago, crude fell below $90 a barrel for the first time this year after reports that China's economic growth slowed.


Asia stocks fall after China production slips

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets fell today after China's manufacturing growth slowed in April, adding to worries about the health of the world's second-largest economy.

A preliminary survey by HSBC Corp. said its monthly purchasing managers' index fell to a worse-than-expected 50.5 from March's 51.6 on a 100-point scale. That comes on top of data released last week that showed an unexpected slowdown in China's first-quarter economic growth.

Benchmark crude oil fell below $89 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro but fell against the yen.


New homes sales data, corporate earning expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after a report than sales of existing homes fell last month, the government offers a report on sales of new homes in March. While new home sales fell in February, they were coming off the strongest sales pace in more than four years and were still more than 12 percent higher than the same month a year earlier.

Sales have not reached the 700,000 level considered healthy, the housing recovery has been gaining strength and starting to look sustainable, thanks to steady job creation and near record-low mortgage rates.

Meanwhile, the corporate earnings season picks up. Apple, AT&T, Delta Airlines, DuPont and Yum Brands are among a long list of companies scheduled to release quarterly financial results.


Flight delays pile up as air controllers are forced to take days off because of budget cuts

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been a rough start to the week for air travelers.

On what is typically the busiest day of the week at airports and with thousands of air traffic controllers forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts, flight delays piled up Monday. Flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington were delayed by more than two hours in some cases, while delays into Los Angeles ended up closer to three hours.

The cuts are forcing all 47,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees — including nearly 15,000 controllers — to lose one day of work every other week. The FAA says planes will have to take off and land less frequently to avoid overloading the remaining controllers on duty.

One thing working in fliers' favor Monday was relatively good weather. However, the furloughs will continue for months and there's no way for passengers to tell in advance which airport or flights will experience delays.


Drop in gas prices benefits US drivers, economy

NEW YORK (AP) — This month's sharp drop in the price of oil is making gasoline cheaper at a time of year when it typically gets more expensive.

Over the past three weeks, the price of oil has fallen by 9 percent to $89 a barrel, extending a slide in gasoline prices that began in late February. Nationwide, average retail prices have fallen by 27 cents per gallon since Feb. 27, to $3.52 per gallon. Analysts say pump prices could fall another 20 cents over the next two months.

The price of oil is being driven lower by rising global supplies and lower-than-expected demand in the world's two largest economies, the United States and China.

It comes as a relief to motorists and business owners and a positive development for the economy. As oil and gasoline become more affordable, goods become less expensive to transport and motorists have more money to spend. Over the course of a year, a decline of 10 cents per gallon translates to $13 billion in savings at the pump.


White House: Obama backs Internet sales tax bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama supports a bill to give states more authority to collect sales tax from Internet retailers.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Senate bill would level the playing field for small businesses and brick-and-mortar retailers that are undercut by online companies.

Carney says that governors and mayors have overwhelmingly told the White House the bill is needed. He says states are losing out on revenue that could go to education, law enforcement, infrastructure investments and health care.

Under current law, states collect sales tax from companies that have a physical presence in their state. The Senate bill would expand that to include sales to people in other states.

The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on the bill on Monday.


Netflix adds 2 million US subscribers in 1Q

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix's decision to feature original programming on its Internet video service appears to be pulling in more customers.

Numbers released Monday showed Netflix Inc. added 2 million U.S. subscribers to its video streaming service during the first three months of the year. Through March, Netflix had 29.2 million U.S. streaming subscribers.

The period was highlighted by the early February debut of "House of Cards," a critically acclaimed series made exclusively for Netflix.

The subscriber growth helped Netflix bounce back from a loss at the same time last year and generate revenue slightly above analyst projections.

The company eked out a profit of $3 million, or 5 cents per share, in the quarter. That contrasted with a loss of nearly $5 million, or 8 cents per share last year.


Bernanke's decision to skip US Fed conference in August fuels speculation he'll leave in Jan.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speculation is intensifying that this year will be Ben Bernanke's last as Federal Reserve chairman.

The Fed chief himself is stirring the speculation with his decision to skip the Fed's annual August conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Jackson Hole has long been a high-profile platform for speeches by Fed chairmen. Since taking over the Fed in 2006, Bernanke has been the marquee speaker each year. In 2010, he used his speech to signal that the Fed could launch another bond-buying program. Stock prices jumped in response to his remarks.

His second four-year term will end in January, and neither he nor President Barack Obama has signaled whether Bernanke will serve a third term.

A Fed spokesman says Bernanke won't be attending the Jackson Hole retreat because of a "personal scheduling conflict."


CBS buys small stake in mobile TV startup Syncbak

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS Corp. says it has made a minority investment in Syncbak, a technology company that allows mobile device users to pick up signals from their local TV stations over the Internet.

Founded in Marion, Iowa, in 2009, Syncbak allows people who download the app to watch local programming, even over a cellphone connection.

Broadcasters like CBS are hoping to reach consumers on new platforms as viewing habits change.

CBS said Monday that Syncbak's technology is being tested by more than 100 TV stations in 70 markets, including San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas.

CBS said it would work closely with cable, satellite and telecommunications companies on building Syncbak.

That suggests that getting the full use of Syncbak could require a pay-TV subscription, although that hasn't yet been decided.


S&P parent seeks to have lawsuit against rating agency tossed, calls US claims a 'stretch'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The parent company of Standard & Poor's wants a federal judge to dismiss a U.S. government lawsuit that claims the ratings agency gave falsely high ratings to mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis.

Attorneys for McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc. delivered their arguments in documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California.

The motion asserts that the U.S. government's complaint against S&P is a stretch, noting that other agencies issued ratings identical to S&P.

The U.S. filed the civil lawsuit against New York-based McGraw-Hill in February and aims to seek billions in damages.

The Justice Department claims S&P knowingly inflated its ratings because it wanted to earn more business from its lender clients whose investments it was hired to rate.

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