Last Update on March 12, 2014 17:17 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A White House official says President Barack Obama will direct the Labor Department to strengthen overtime pay protections for millions of workers.
The directive is meant to help salaried workers, such as fast-food shift supervisors or convenience store managers, who may be expected to work more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay.
For example, the Labor Department could raise the pay threshold for workers covered by overtime rules. Currently, salaried workers who make more than $455 per week are exempt from overtime.
It's the latest move in Obama's self-described "year of action," a series of economy-focused executive decisions that don't require congressional approval.
The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the directive on the record before the president's announcement, expected Thursday.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is launching a campaign to promote economic issues facing women, a key voting bloc in this year's midterm election.
President Barack Obama is hosting at least 10 Democratic female lawmakers at the White House Wednesday as his Council of Economic Advisers is issuing a report decrying a gender wage gap. It says full-time working women continue to earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in the workforce, despite making gains in higher education and inroads into traditionally male-dominated occupations.
The White House says the economic issues facing women and families will be addressed at a Working Families Summit the president will host on June 23 at Washington's Omni Shoreham hotel. The summit was announced as part of Obama's State of the Union address in January.
WALL STREET BONUSES
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's state comptroller says the average bonus paid to securities industry employees in New York City grew 15 percent last year to more than $164,000.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says his analysis shows that's the largest average Wall Street bonus since the 2008 financial crisis.
According to the comptroller's report Wednesday, the securities industry has been profitable for five consecutive years. It has 165,200 workers in New York City, or 12.6 percent fewer than before the crisis.
Profits for broker/dealer operations of some 200 New York Stock Exchange members -- the traditional measure of profitability for the securities industry -- totaled nearly $16.7 billion last year, down 30 percent from a year earlier.
DiNapoli says the industry had a good 2013 despite costly legal settlements and higher interest rates.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Eastman Kodak has tapped Orbitz chairman Jeffrey Clarke as its new CEO, taking over from Antonio Perez.
The photography and film pioneer, which emerged from bankruptcy in September, said Wednesday that Perez will remain as a special adviser to its board. He had served as CEO since 2005.
The 52-year old Clarke will continue as chairman of online travel company Orbitz Worldwide Inc. He is the co-founder of private investment firm Augusta Columbia Capital and served as a managing partner there.
Clarke will also become a member of the board of directors at Eastman Kodak Co.
Shares of Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., fell 84 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $26.39 in morning trading. Its shares had fallen more than 24 percent through Tuesday since the start of the year.
GOLDMAN TRADER TRIAL
NEW YORK (AP) -- A former Goldman Sachs trader dubbed "Fabulous Fab" has been ordered to pay about $825,000 in a securities fraud case stemming from the 2007 mortgage crisis that helped push the country into recession.
A federal judge in Manhattan issued the ruling Wednesday in the civil case against Fabrice Tourre (fah-BREES' toor). He was found liable after a trial last summer.
His lawyer didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
The Federal Securities and Exchange Commission said Tourre misled institutional investors about subprime mortgage securities that he knew were destined to fail. SEC lawyers called him a symbol of "Wall Street greed."
His attorneys depicted him as a scapegoat for the financial crisis.
The SEC says the ruling reflects its intent of "pursuing meaningful sanctions" to punish and deter misconduct.
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors is offering free loaner cars to owners of compacts that are being recalled for a deadly ignition switch defect.
The company also will offer a $500 cash allowance to owners who want to buy or lease a new GM vehicle.
GM made the disclosures in documents posted Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The loaners will be available until parts arrive to fix the switches. The cash offer runs through April 30.
GM says it isn't offering to buy the cars back. But the cash offer will be made to people who don't feel safe driving their cars.
GM is recalling 1.6 million older small cars because faulty ignitions can shut off engines unexpectedly. GM says 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem.
GENEVA (AP) -- The global airlines industry still expects a record profit for 2014, just not quite as high as previously forecast due to the impact of rising jet fuel prices.
The International Air Transport Association expects the profit this year to be $18.7 billion, down from the $19.7 billion it forecast in December. Fuel prices have been higher than expected since then. Oil prices are now expected to average $108 per barrel, $3.50 per barrel above previous projections.
The lower profit figure is still well above the $12.9 billion earned in 2013 and the $6.1 billion in 2012. It's also higher than the previous record profit of $17.3 billion made in 2010.
The cost of fuel isn't the only challenge. Tony Tyler, the association's director-general and CEO, tells reporters that Venezuela's decision to block airlines from taking profits out of the country, the Ukrainian political crisis and the missing Malaysian jetliner are adding uncertainty to the outlook.
The Geneva-based group represents 240 airlines, or 84 percent of total air traffic.
CHICAGO (AP) -- The agency that oversees public transportation in Chicago has filed a lawsuit claiming American Airlines is running a "sham" office in a small town to avoid paying taxes in the nation's third-largest city.
The Regional Transportation Authority filed its lawsuit late Tuesday afternoon. It claims American is actually doing the work of buying millions of dollars in jet fuel in Chicago, not in the small community of Sycamore.
The agency says the setup cost Chicago, Cook County and the RTA $23.6 million in lost sales taxes in 2013 alone and far more than that since the office opened in 2004.
Sycamore's city manager and American declined to comment. But when the RTA filed a similar lawsuit against United Airlines last year, American said it was following the law.
NEW JERSEY-TESLA MOTORS
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey motor vehicle officials have approved a regulation that would require all new car dealers to obtain franchise agreements to receive state licenses.
The regulation was adopted Tuesday. It effectively prohibits companies from using a direct sales model, which cuts out the middleman and takes vehicles directly to customers through smaller retail establishments.
Critics say the regulation will hamper the electric-car industry's attempts to expand in New Jersey.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla Motors is one of the electric-car firms that would be affected by the new rule. It calls the rule "an affront to the very concept of a free market."
Energy XXI buying EPL Oil & Gas for about $1.53B
HOUSTON (AP) -- Energy XXI is buying EPL Oil & Gas Inc. for about $1.53 billion in a deal that the companies say will create the biggest publicly-owned independent oil producer on the Gulf of Mexico shelf.
The transaction is a cash-and-stock deal. EPL stockholders can choose to receive $39 per EPL share, a 34 percent premium to the company's Tuesday closing price of $29.11. They can also elect to receive 1.669 common shares of Energy XXI, or a combination of cash and stock.
The companies put the deal's total value at $2.3 billion, including debt.
Energy XXI (Bermuda) Ltd. shareholders are expected to own about 77 percent of the combined company, with EPL stockholders owning the remaining 23 percent.
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-GRAHAM HOLDINGS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Warren Buffett's company says it has agreed to acquire a Miami-based TV station from Graham Holdings Co. in exchange for sharply reducing its stake in the company that once owned The Washington Post.
Under the agreement, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. gets a Graham subsidiary that will include TV station WPLG, along with an undisclosed amount of Berkshire shares currently held by Graham and cash.
Graham gets 1.6 million shares of Graham Holdings Class B common stock currently owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett says the deal will greatly reduce his company's position in Graham. In February, that stake was worth about $1.1 billion.
The specific number of shares of each company and the amount of cash will be determined when the deal closes.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The maker of OxyContin says it has completed testing of an abuse-resistant version of the painkiller hydrocodone, a surprise development that could derail sales of the recently launched Zohydro, which has been heavily criticized for lacking such safeguards.
Purdue Pharma says it plans to submit its pain reliever to the Food and Drug Administration later this year. The company's tablets are designed to prevent users from crushing them for snorting or injection.
Shares of Zogenix Inc. plunged more than 18 percent on the news. A hard-to-abuse form of hydrocodone would be much more likely to garner prescriptions from physicians. And the Food and Drug Administration could potentially pull Zogenix's drug off the market if regulators determine that a safer alternative is available.
Zogenix began shipping Zohydro to pharmacies last week.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The company behind the addictive blockbuster game "Candy Crush Saga" believes it could raise nearly $613 million in an initial public offering.
In a regulatory filing Wednesday, King Digital Entertainment PLC said it plans to sell 15.3 million shares in the offering. Existing shareholders will sell an additional 6.7 million shares.
"Candy Crush" was the most downloaded free app on iPhones and iPads in 2013, beating Facebook, Google Maps and YouTube.
The shares are expected to be priced between $21 and $24, for a total of between $466.2 million and $532.8 million. Underwriters have the option of buying up to an additional 3.3 million shares. That could raise an additional $69.9 million to $79.9 million.
Shares would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "KING."
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo is cribbing from Yelp's online reviews of local merchants to soup up its search engine.
Ratings and excerpts from Yelp's merchant reviews began to appear in Yahoo's search results on Wednesday.
Financial terms of the partnership weren't disclosed.
Yahoo Inc. is hoping the snippets from Yelp Inc.'s popular service will spur more people to rely on its search engine when they're looking for information about a specific city. Yelp could generate more revenue and polish its brand by having its content featured in Yahoo's search results.
Boosting search traffic is a high priority for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer because the queries spawn insights into users' interests. That knowledge can then be used to sell advertising.
Yahoo ranks a distant third in Internet search behind Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.