Dunkin’ Donuts to add outlets
Dunkin’ Donuts said it plans to open 330 to 360 net new U.S. restaurants in 2013, up from 291 new outlets last year.
The Canton, Mass., company intends to enter the southern California market in 2015, and is recruiting multiunit franchisees in that area, it said.
The store growth rate this year will be 4.5 percent to 5 percent, up from net growth of 4 percent last year, it said.
Dow Jones falls 24 points
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23.66 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,511.23, with 16 of its 30 components losing ground.
Boeing Co. led the blue-chip slide, its shares down 3.4 percent after Japan’s two largest airlines grounded all their 787 Dreamliner planes as a safety precaution after one made an emergency landing.
The S&P 500 index added less than half a point to 1,472.63. The Nasdaq composite index rose 6.77 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,117.54.
Germany cuts growth forecast
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government cut its growth forecast for Europe’s biggest economy as austerity policies in cash-strapped euro-region countries and cooling world trade hold down exports.
German gross domestic product growth will slow to 0.4 percent this year from 0.7 percent in 2012, the Economy Ministry said in its annual report. GDP growth will accelerate in the course of the year and average 1.6 percent in 2014, it said.
N.J. casino deal proposed
An Internet gambling company wants to buy Atlantic City’s Atlantic Club casino and says it’s ready to pump money into it to help prop up the seaside gambling resort.
Rational Group US Holdings is the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. It’s asking New Jersey casino regulators for permission to buy the Atlantic Club for an undisclosed amount.
New Jersey lawmakers have passed a bill that would authorize Internet gambling, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t acted on it.
Last year, PokerStars paid $547 million to settle money laundering charges from a U.S. government crackdown on illegal Internet gambling. It admitted no wrongdoing and is allowed to operate in states where online gambling is legal.
Pennsylvania trails Nevada
Pennsylvania passed New Jersey in annual casino revenue in 2012 to become the second-largest U.S. gambling market behind Nevada, new state figures show.
Gross casino revenue in the state increased 4.4 percent to $3.16 billion, Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board said. On Jan. 10, New Jersey reported revenue for Atlantic City casinos slumped 8 percent to $3.05 billion.
The data underscore the challenges facing New Jersey’s attempt to reinvigorate the tourism and gambling industries after years of decline and the recent Superstorm Sandy.
Nissan plant to supply hybrids
Nissan plans to better use a Tennessee battery plant making components for the slow-selling Leaf electric car by having it also supply parts for the company’s hybrid vehicles, an executive said.
The Smyrna, Tenn., factory, funded with a $1.4 billion Energy Department loan, opened late last year to make Leaf’s lithium-ion batteries, motors and other components. U.S. sales of the rechargeable car have missed Nissan’s target for the past two years, staying below 10,000 units. The factory, next to Nissan’s largest U.S. auto-assembly plant, was intended to eventually supply packs and parts for 200,000 vehicles annually.
Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president, said, “You’ll start to see front-wheel drive hybridized vehicles coming in the next one to two years.”
Group urges raising age limit
An influential group of business executives is pushing a plan to increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.
The Business Roundtable’s plan would protect those 55 or older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.
Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health status.
Compiled from staff and wire reports