Possible China deal could pep up iPhone sales
BEIJING (AP) _ Apple Inc. might have a chance to pep up cooling iPhone sales in China if it finally can reach a deal with the world's biggest phone carrier.
Once China's must-have gadget, the iPhone has seen its explosive popularity squeezed as the market filled with lower-priced rivals from Samsung to ambitious local brands. Some analysts say anybody who wants an iPhone and can afford it already has one.
That might change if Apple can gain access to China Mobile Ltd.'s network and a new pool of potential customers.
After a yearslong courtship, there are signs the two corporate giants might finally be edging toward a deal. The Wall Street Journal said it could be announced as early as this week, though China Mobile spokespeople have said the companies were still talking.
AP-GfK poll: Americans see end of stock surge
NEW YORK (AP) _ Americans aren't expecting another bang-up year for the stock market, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
Of the people polled, 40 percent think the market will stabilize where it is now by the end of 2014, with 39 percent predicting that it will drop, but not crash. Only 14 percent believe the market will rise and 5 percent think it will crash.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index has surged 24.5 percent to 1,775 in 2013, putting it on track for its best year in a decade. The rally has been fueled by higher corporate earnings, a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. economy and stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
FDA: Anti-bacterial soaps may not curb bacteria
WASHINGTON (AP) _ After more than 40 years of study, the federal government said Monday it has no evidence that the anti-bacterial chemicals used in countless common soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs, and it is reviewing research suggesting they may pose health risks.
Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration said they are revisiting the safety of chemicals such as triclosan in light of recent studies that suggest the substances can interfere with hormone levels and spur the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
The government's preliminary ruling lends new support to outside researchers who have long argued that the chemicals are, at best, ineffective and at worst, a threat to public health.
US factory output rises solid 0.6 pct. in November
WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. factories increased output in November for the fourth straight month, led by a surge in auto production. The gains show manufacturing is strengthening and could help boost economic growth at the end of the year.
Factory production rose 0.6 percent in November after a 0.5 percent gain in October, the Federal Reserve said Monday.
Production of motor vehicles and parts increased 3.4 percent, rebounding from a 1.3 percent decline in October. Factories also stepped up production of home electronics and chemical products.
Industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, rose 1.1 percent in November. It was the fourth straight gain.
US worker output rises at best pace in 4 years
WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. workers boosted their productivity from July through September at the fastest pace since the end of 2009, adding to signs of stronger economic growth.
The Labor Department said Monday that productivity increased at a 3 percent annual rate in the third quarter. That's up from an initial estimate of 1.9 percent and much stronger than the 1.8 percent rate from April through June.
Productivity rose because economic growth was much stronger than previously estimated in the third quarter. Productivity is the amount of output per hour of work.
Higher productivity enables companies to pay employees more without sparking inflation. But greater productivity can also slow hiring if it shows companies don't need more workers to boost output.