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Business news briefs — Feb. 25

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AUTO INDUSTRY

Tesla sedan receives award

The Tesla Model S electric sedan is Consumer Reports’ top pick in this year’s automotive rankings.

The magazine cited the Model S’s sporty performance and technological innovations, including its 225-mile range. But it acknowledged that the car is expensive. Consumer Reports paid $89,650 for the model it tested.

GM sorry for ignition problem

General Motors, saying it was “deeply sorry,” more than doubled the scope of a vehicle recall to fix defective ignition switches now linked to 13 deaths from airbags failing to deploy.

The recalls, limited initially to 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars, were widened to include 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and the 2006-2007 Saturn Sky. About 1.62 million cars are now included.

DEFENSE

B&W receives federal contract

Babcock & Wilcox Co. said its Barberton and Euclid campuses will get work as part of a federal defense contract worth up to $1.3 billion to make nuclear power components for submarines and aircraft carriers.

B&W Nuclear Operations Group Inc. received the three-year contract from the U.S. Naval Reactors Program, Charlotte, N.C.-based B&W said. The contract will be worth $1.3 billion “if fully executed,” the company said. Work also will be done in Lynchburg, Va., and Mount Vernon, Ind.

ENTERTAINMENT

Disney launches movie app

Walt Disney Co. is launching a digital movies app that allows fans to store movie purchases online and play them back over Apple devices and computers. The launch of Disney Movies Anywhere coincides with the release of hit film Frozen on digital platforms. Users who link the app account to Apple’s iTunes digital store will receive a free copy of The Incredibles.

The app is built on the Walt Disney Co.’s KeyChest technology, which stores and records consumers’ purchases of digital movies on distant servers. The app also recognizes codes that have enabled digital downloads of Disney movies since 2008. KeyChest is similar to UltraViolet, a digital locker system supported by a wider range of studios such as Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony and Paramount.

L.A. sports channel debuts

Time Warner Cable, debuting a new Los Angeles Dodgers television channel, hasn’t persuaded DirecTV, AT&T Inc. or other pay-TV operators to carry the programming, potentially missing almost two-thirds of the second-largest market. At $4-plus a month, SportsNet LA would be the town’s most costly regional channel, packaged on a basic tier that all subscribers must take.

Time Warner Cable Inc.’s 2013 deal for 25 years of Dodgers games, pegged at $8.35 billion by the team and the league, is testing the value of sports programming after a run-up in costs.

BANKING

Chase to lay off 8,000 this year

JPMorgan Chase plans 8,000 layoffs this year as its mortgage and retail banking businesses shrink. About half of those job cuts had already been announced, but it is cutting more jobs than planned as it tries to keep expenses down.

The cuts are split between its mortgage and retail banking businesses and come in addition to 16,500 layoffs last year. Chase also says it will add about 3,000 jobs in other areas this year.

REAL ESTATE

U.S. home prices fall again

Home prices fell for the second straight month in December as cold weather, tight supply and higher costs slowed sales. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index declined 0.1 percent from November to December, matching the previous month’s decline. This index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the dip partly reflects slower buying as winter weather set in. For all of 2013, however, prices rose by a healthy 13.4 percent, mostly because of big gains earlier in the year. That was the largest calendar year gain in eight years. But the year-over-year gain slowed from November’s 13.7 percent pace. That’s only the second time that year-over-year increases have declined since prices began recovering two years ago.

The index shows prices in the Cleveland area fell 1.2 percent from November to December. When adjusted to take into account seasonal factors, the Cleveland index fell 0.2 percent in December. Prices in December were up 4.5 percent on a non­seasonally adjusted basis from December 2012.

Compiled from staff and wire report.


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