Business Highlights - Disney Buy Marvel

Disney to buy comic book powerhouse Marvel for $4B


LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Walt Disney Co. is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, which was announced Monday and is expected to close by the end of the year, Disney will acquire the rights to 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Stocks end strong month with a bout of selling

NEW YORK (AP) - After giving the stock market solid gains during August, investors still worried about the economy backtracked a bit during the final day of the month.

Stocks fell in light trading Monday after a plunge in China's main stock market sent a wave of selling around the world and added to concerns that stocks have rocketed too high, too fast. The Dow fell 47.92, or 0.5 percent, to 9,496.28.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index, which is the basis for many mutual funds, ended August higher to post its sixth straight monthly gain. It is up 50.9 percent since early March, the best run since 1938.

Baker Hughes to buy BJ Services in $5.5B deal

HOUSTON (AP) - Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Monday that it will buy BJ Services Co. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $5.5 billion to diversify the services it offers and compete better with industry leaders.

Baker Hughes customers will get a one-stop shop for a variety of services. Notably BJ Services' pressure pumping business will go to Baker Hughes, which will help clients with unconventional gas and deepwater fields, said Chad Deaton, Baker Hughes Chairman, President and CEO.

Southwest faces Tuesday deadline to replace parts

DALLAS (AP) - Southwest Airlines Co., facing a deadline of Tuesday for settling a dispute with regulators over the use of unapproved parts, said Monday the parts were installed on almost twice as many planes as it first believed.

The airline also has suspended the maintenance firm that got the parts from a subcontractor.

Southwest said Monday it has replaced the unapproved parts in more than 25 planes but needs more time to find parts for the remaining jets and an extension to avoid a disruption in its service to its customers.

Without an extension, the Federal Aviation Administration could force the airline to ground some planes.

Oil settles below $70 on China worries

UNDATED (AP) - Oil prices fell nearly 4 percent to below $70 a barrel Monday as a steep drop in China's stock market raised doubts about the strength of the U.S. and global economic recovery.

Benchmark crude for October delivery lost $2.78 to settle at $69.96 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the first time oil has ended a trading day below $70 in about two weeks.

Major refiner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. fell by the daily maximum 10 percent after the company said it does not expect to significantly boost production, while PetroChina, the Shanghai index's heaviest weighted share, fell 6.7 percent.

Head of Boeing's commercial jets to step down

CHICAGO (AP) - Boeing Co. said Monday that Scott Carson will step down as head of the company's commercial airplane division and retire at the end of the year.

The Chicago-based company said Carson will be succeeded on Tuesday by the head of its defense business, Jim Albaugh.

Boeing's commercial aircraft operation has struggled with sharply lower orders amid the global economic downturn, which has hurt demand for air travel and cargo services. It also has grappled with problems arising from its new 787, a next-generation aircraft that's been delayed five times. Boeing said last week the lightweight plane will fly for the first time by year's end.

Survey finds support for Fed, jitters on spending

NEW YORK (AP) - Economists are pleased with the Federal Reserve's policy on interest rates but skeptical of the government's ability to rein in spending, curb greenhouse gases or overhaul health care, a new survey finds.

The latest semiannual survey by the National Association for Business Economics, set to be released Monday, indicates almost 70 percent of the 266 economists surveyed earlier this month think the Fed's monetary policy is "about right," up from 63 percent in March and 56 percent a year ago.

The results come as indicators point to an improving economy, presenting policy makers with wrenching decisions over how quickly to roll back measures taken in the past year to avert a financial collapse.

Wal-Mart to sell goods from other vendors on Web

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has launched an addition to its online business that has outside retailers selling nearly 1 million new items through Walmart.com, a move that could help the world's largest retailer catch up in the online world.

The Walmart Marketplace has products from categories that include home, baby, toys, apparel, sporting goods and sports memorabilia. The company said it picked the retailers - including eBags, CSN Stores and Pro Team - because they have large product assortments and solid customer service track records.

Huntsman makes $415M bid for Tronox assets

NEW YORK (AP) - Chemical company Huntsman Inc. has offered to pay about $415 million for Tronox Inc.'s titanium dioxide and electrolytics businesses in a deal that would make Huntsman the world's second-biggest maker of a whitener used in products as diverse as food, plastics and paint.

Texas-based Huntsman Inc. said Monday that it signed a "stalking horse" agreement last Friday with Oklahoma City-based Tronox Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

That means other companies may submit competing bids for Tronox's assets before a bankruptcy court auction, which will likely take place in the fourth quarter of this year.

Drugstores to start giving flu shots Tuesday

NEW YORK (AP) - Drugstore operators are beginning their seasonal flu shot campaigns several weeks early this year, saying they expect greater demand for the vaccine in a year when the swine flu strain has dominated the news.

CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co. are making flu shots available starting Tuesday, while Rite Aid Corp. said some of its pharmacists are already giving the shots. The vaccine is intended to prevent the seasonal flu and is separate from vaccines for swine flu. A swine flu vaccine could be ready by mid-October.

CVS said it was offering the shots three or four weeks earlier than usual. Walgreen said it started giving flu shots Oct. 1 last year.

By The Associated Press

The Dow fell 47.92, or 0.5 percent, to 9,496.28.

The S&P 500 index fell 8.31, or 0.8 percent, to 1,020.62, while the Nasdaq fell 19.71, or 1 percent, to 2,009.06.

Benchmark crude for October delivery lost $2.78 to settle at $69.96 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline for September delivery fell 7.59 cents to settle at $1.9859 a gallon and heating oil dropped 8.11 cents to settle at $1.7792 a gallon. Natural gas shed 5.6 cents to settle at $2.977 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude settled down $3.14 at $69.65.

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