Business Highlights


Study details sugar industry attempt to shape science

NEW YORK (AP) " The sugar industry began funding research that cast doubt on sugar's role in heart disease " in part by pointing the finger at fat " as early as the 1960s, according to an analysis of newly uncovered documents.

The analysis published Monday is based on correspondence between a sugar trade group and researchers at Harvard University, and is the latest example showing how food and beverage makers attempt to shape public understanding of nutrition.

In 1964, the group now known as the Sugar Association internally discussed a campaign to address "negative attitudes toward sugar" after studies began emerging linking sugar with heart disease, according to documents dug up from public archives. The following year the group approved "Project 226," which entailed paying Harvard researchers today's equivalent of $48,900 for an article reviewing the scientific literature, supplying materials they wanted reviewed, and receiving drafts of the article.

The resulting article published in 1967 concluded there was "no doubt" that reducing cholesterol and saturated fat was the only dietary intervention needed to prevent heart disease.

The researchers overstated the consistency of the literature on fat and cholesterol, while downplaying studies on sugar, according to the analysis.


Big Food's biggest trend? Crusading against Big Food

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) " Gathered for a free music festival, a crowd waits to see one of the headline attractions " an exhibit about fast-food ingredients.

On display: Beakers of powders and liquids that purportedly go into what is clearly meant to look like a McDonald's burger. Just below are leaves and spices that Chipotle says make up its burrito. As pop bands perform nearby, other festivalgoers play an online game fighting a "galactic battle against artificial ingredients."

Chipotle's "Cultivate" festivals encapsulate the food industry's hottest marketing trend: crusading against Big Food.

While the burrito maker still struggles to recover from an E. coli outbreak last year, its previous success in presenting itself as a reformer has led companies big and small to follow suit as they seek part of the $256 billion that Americans spend on fast-food each year. But some are positioning themselves as advocates for change before accomplishing some health goals, and skeptics say even well-intentioned marketing can be a disingenuous way to help people rationalize overeating.


Fed official's speech lowers expectations for hike next week

WASHINGTON (AP) " Investors, at least, suddenly seem more confident about what the Federal Reserve will announce when it meets next week: Nothing.

Stocks soared Monday after an influential Fed policymaker indicated she was in no hurry to raise interest rates despite intensified speculation that the Fed is poised to tighten U.S. borrowing rates.

After the speech by Lael Brainard, investors pegged the chance of a rate hike next week at just 15 percent, down from 24 percent before her remarks, according to figures from the CME Group.


US stocks leap as investors hope for steady interest rates

NEW YORK (AP) " U.S. stocks surged Monday after a Federal Reserve official said the central bank shouldn't raise interest rates too soon, which came as a big relief to investors. After a market nosedive on Friday, investors bought safe investments like household goods makers and phone companies. Technology companies also jumped.

Stocks started the day lower following Friday's drop, but they soon rallied. Investors were pleased when Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve board, said the Fed shouldn't raise interest rates quickly because that could hurt the economy. The biggest gains went to safe investments that pay big dividends, as they are more enticing to investors when interest rates and bond yields are low.

Stocks had plunged Friday following remarks from another Fed official that suggested interest rates could go up next week.


Economists: Growth expected for at least 2 more years

Business economists still think the economy will continue to grow for the next two years, but they again have scaled back their expectations for just how much.

The median estimate from economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics calls for gross domestic product growth of 1.5 percent this year, down from the 1.8 percent they forecast in June. The outlook for next year calls for 2.3 percent growth.

In addition, 81 percent of those surveyed said they don't expect the U.S. economy to peak until at least 2018.


Business owners have mixed view of economy

Small business owners aren't very upbeat about the economy, but they're also not particularly pessimistic. That's the finding of a semiannual survey of owners taken in July and August and released last week by the advocacy group National Small Business Association.

Owners' view of the economy has changed little from a similar survey taken in December. When asked to compare the economy now versus a year ago, 32 percent said it was improved, the same number as in December. A third said it was worse, up slightly from 29 percent. And 35 percent described the economy as about the same, down from 39 percent.

In its analysis, the NSBA said the negativity of the presidential election campaign likely is the biggest contributor to owners' lack of enthusiasm about the economy. The NSBA noted that only 44 percent of owners said the economy is better off than it was five years ago, although the economy is actually greatly improved since 2011.


Potash, Agrium to combine, creating huge crop company

NEW YORK (AP) " Potash Corp. and Agrium said Monday that they are combining to create the world's largest crop nutrient company.

The Canadian companies both sell fertilizers and nutrients to farmers that help them grow their crops.

The new company will have 20,000 employees, a market value of $36 billion and annual revenue of $20.6 billion, the companies said.

Potash shareholders will own about 52 percent of the new company and Agrium shareholders will own about 48 percent.


Starboard buys stake in drugmaker Perrigo, wants shake-up

NEW YORK (AP) " Activist investor Starboard Value said Monday that it bought a 4.6 percent stake in Perrigo and pushed the Irish drugmaker to shake up its business.

In a letter to Perrigo's management, Starboard said that the company's performance has been "poor" and that it needs to make changes to create value for shareholders. Starboard said Perrigo's plans last year to improve the company on its own after it rejected a takeover bid from rival Mylan NV did not pan out.

Perrigo said in a statement that it is reviewing Starboard's letter "carefully."


HP buying Samsung Electronics' printer business for $1.05B

NEW YORK (AP) " HP is buying Samsung Electronics Co.'s printer business in a transaction worth $1.05 billion.

HP Inc. said Monday that it is the largest print acquisition in the company's history and will help it go from traditional copiers to multifunction printers. HP also said the deal will strengthen its position in laser printing, which it established with Canon.

Samsung's printer business includes more than 6,500 printing patents.


The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 239.62 points, or 1.3 percent, to 18,325.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 31.23 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,159.04. The Nasdaq composite surged 85.98 points, or 1.7 percent, to 5,211.89.

U.S. crude rose 41 cents to $46.29 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil trading, climbed 31 cents to $48.32 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $1.39 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.44 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 12 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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