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UPI NewsTrack Business

May 4, 2012 at 6:25 PM   |   Comments

Stocks close out week lower

NEW YORK, May 4 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks closed lower for the week after the Labor Department said 115,000 jobs were added to the economy in April, far fewer than expected.

Although the department revised its job-gains estimate for March from 120,000 to 154,000, the report was seen as evidence that a recovery in the labor market had stalled.

By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 168.32 points, 1.27 percent, to 13,038.27. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 67.96 points, 2.25 percent, to 2,956.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 22.47 points, 1.61 percent, to 1,369.10.

The DJIA opened the week at 13,228.31 points. The Nasdaq index opened Monday at 3,069.20. The S&P 500 opened Monday at 1,302.36.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 759 stocks advanced and 2,286 declined on a volume of 3.9 billion shares traded.

The 10-year benchmark treasury note was yielding 1.886 percent.

The euro fell to $1.3093 from Thursday's $1.3152. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 79.88 yen from 80.17 yen.

In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 1.93 percent, 111.49, to 5,655.06.


Apple TV? Maybe not for a while

CUPERTINO, Calif., May 4 (UPI) -- People eagerly awaiting an Internet-connected TV set from Apple may have to wait a bit more, a prominent industry analyst says.

Sources "do not indicate any looming TV-related product launch," with most citing unfavorable economic conditions causing a wait-and-see attitude on Apple's part, JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said.

"Strained economics" being experienced by the TV industry are likely giving Apple concerns, despite the fact several television manufacturers have offered Apple a number of "suitable" platforms for a connected TV set, Moskowitz said.

"We are not sure that the Apple premium could prevail in the TV market, unless there is a radical change of the user interface, integration of the TV programming and data content, and use of gesture or voice control," the analyst said in an industry note obtained by AppleInsider.

Apple has apparently decided to adopt a slower, more evolutionary approach to breaking into the home entertainment market, TG Daily said.

However, Apple would likely be the one company capable of "radically altering the TV landscape" if it chose to, Moskowitz said.

"We believe Apple can design a smarter set top box to manage all components behind the end user's TV experience, as well as eliminate the oft-cumbersome user interface provided by the cable and satellite operators," he said.


GM's federal income tax bill: Zilch

DETROIT, May 4 (UPI) -- A spokesman for U.S. automaker General Motors said the company paid no federal income tax for 2011 despite earnings of $13 billion since 2009.

"We did not pay federal income tax last year," said GM spokesman Jim Cain.

The Detroit News reported Friday GM earned profits of $1 billion in January through March but may not have a federal tax bill to pay "for many more years."

The tax-free years are the result of GM's stint in bankruptcy in 2009.

The newspaper reported the Treasury Department gave GM permission to use the $18 billion in losses from the pre-bankruptcy company, the so-called old GM, to cancel out any profits it has made since it emerged from bankruptcy.

In essence, GM would have to make $1 billion for 18 consecutive quarters before the federal government, which bailed out the company, sees a nickel in income tax from GM.

GM, however, said it pays "significant" state taxes and has a 13 percent worldwide tax rate.

Ford Motor Co. spokesman Todd Nissen said Ford does not reveal its tax bills per country, although it paid $268 million in worldwide income taxes in 2011 on income of $7.8 billion.

The third of Detroit's Big 3, Chrysler Group, is set up as a limited liability partnership, so the company does not pay any federal income tax, either.

Instead, Chrysler's owners pay federal income tax, while the company pays state and foreign taxes, which totaled $92 million in 2011.


Public begins to forgive Walmart

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 4 (UPI) -- The public's opinion of retailer Walmart is already correcting itself after a dip caused by a scandal involving alleged bribes in Mexico, YouGov reported.

The New York Times broke the story in late April that Walmart's massive expansion in Mexico last year was lubricated by bribes to public officials.

The story said Walmart had conducted an in-house investigation into the bribes, then squashed its own findings.

Web site YouGov, which tracks public opinion on political issues and business brands, said Walmart's score dropped 15 points three days after the scandal was reported -- on a scale that goes from 100 down to minus 100.

But Walmart's score began returning to normal after the three-day drop.

"Walmart's Mexico bribery scandal might be causing the retailer some pain in the United States and may yet force personnel resignations, but other brands like Target and Taco Bell experienced significantly worse perception crises in the past 18 months and they took two months to mend," YouGov reported.

YouGov said the bribery scandal's hit to Walmart's reputation was "similar in magnitude to when it was hit with a class-action discrimination lawsuit," from which the chain took three weeks to recover.

In comparison, Walmart rival Target "received a much more significant consumer backlash in summer 2010 when it donated money to a controversial political group."

It took seven weeks for the public's opinion of Target to recover the 28 points it lost after the controversy involving a Target donation of $150,000 to a group that supported Tom Emmer's campaign for governor of Minnesota.

The donation was seized on by gay rights groups as a donation to an openly anti-gay candidate.

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