More on Wall Street's Twitter tumble, and other business news

2013-04-25T00:00:00Z More on Wall Street's Twitter tumble, and other business newsFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
April 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Fake tweet raises auto-trade concerns

NEW YORK - For a few surreal minutes, a mere 12 words on Twitter caused the world's mightiest stock market to tremble.

No sooner did hackers send a false Associated Press tweet reporting explosions at the White House on Tuesday than investors started dumping stocks - eventually unloading $134 billion worth. Turns out, some investors are not only gullible, they're impossibly fast stock traders.

Except most of the investors weren't human. They were computers, selling on autopilot beyond the control of humans, like a scene from a sci-fi horror film. Markets quickly recovered after Tuesday's plunge. But the incident rattled traders and highlighted the danger of handing control to the machines. It also raised questions about whether regulators should be doing more to monitor the relationship between social media and the markets.

Boeing numbers sunny despite 787 woes

Boeing reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profit even as it scrambled to fix its grounded 787.

The company said on Wednesday that deliveries of the 787 should resume in early May. Most of the 50 planes that have been delivered to airlines will be fixed by midmonth, it added.

Durable-goods orders decline by 5.7 percent

WASHINGTON - Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell in March by the most in seven months. The drop reflected a steep decline in commercial aircraft demand and little growth in orders that signal future business investment.

Spending on defense equipment also fell sharply.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods declined 5.7 percent in March, after a 4.3 percent gain in February. Weaker economies overseas and the impact of across-the-board government spending cuts made businesses cautious.

Administration missed Fisker clues

WASHINGTON - The Energy Department did not realize for four months that troubled automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. had missed a crucial production target that was required as part of a half-billion-dollar government loan, documents released Wednesday show.

The mistake allowed Fisker to obtain an additional $32 million in government funding before the loan was suspended in June 2011.

The administration's actions - or failure to act - came under sharp criticism from Republicans Wednesday at a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. GOP lawmakers accused the Obama administration of negligence and worse, while Democrats dismissed the hearing as a "show trial" intended to embarrass the president.

First-quarter profit of Ford jumps 15%

DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co.'s first-quarter profit rose 15 percent to $1.6 billion because of record earnings in North America and strong sales in China. The automaker lost money again in Europe. Ford earned 40 cents per share.

ITunes turns 10, sees new challenges

In the 10 years since its inception, Apple's iTunes has changed how people buy music and access entertainment. It's not only music's biggest retailer, it also dominates the digital video market. Its apps are the most profitable, it has expanded to books and magazines, and it is now available in 119 countries.

While digital music sales rise, album sales have decreased and the music industry's profits have continued to drop over the decade.

But with competition from Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and others, iTunes will likely need to reinvent itself to remain at the top of digital entertainment.

The Associated Press

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