111613-biz-briefs_all

2013-11-15T17:03:00Z 2013-11-15T19:06:05Z 111613-biz-briefs_allThe Associated Press The Associated Press
November 15, 2013 5:03 pm  • 

JPMorgan to pay $4.5B to end securities case

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Friday it has reached a $4.5 billion settlement with investors over mortgage-backed securities.

The settlement covers 21 major institutional investors. The mortgage-backed securities were issued by JPMorgan and Bear Stearns between 2005 and 2008. New York-based JPMorgan acquired the failing investment bank Bear Stearns in March 2008.

The deal is the latest in a series of legal settlements over JPMorgan’s sales of mortgage-backed securities in the years preceding the financial crisis. As the housing market collapsed between 2006 and 2008, millions of homeowners defaulted on high-risk mortgages. That led to billions of dollars in losses for investors who bought securities created from bundles of mortgages. Those securities were sold by JPMorgan and other big Wall Street banks.

New PlayStation, Xbox in altered landscape

Remember a time before “Angry Birds,” the iPad and the iPhone? No?

When Sony and Microsoft last came out with new video game consoles — seven and eight years ago, respectively — the companies touted the machines’ high-definition graphics, powerful processors and ability to play DVDs, and in Sony’s case, Blu-ray discs.

But a lot has changed since then. People are playing games on a broader array of devices than ever before, and they have more options to stream movies, TV shows and music. Connecting with friends online is the norm, not an obscure activity for young people.

That’s the world the Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One enter. The PlayStation 4 went on sale Friday and the Xbox One will be released next week. As Sony and Microsoft once again spar this holiday season over who has the brawnier machine and more enticing online features, hardcore gamers are all but certain to fall for the shiny, powerful new consoles. But what’s less clear is how the gadgets will compete for the attention of people who now look to smartphones and other devices for entertainment.

At McDonald’s, a push for food customization

McDonald’s is looking to give people a little more wiggle room to customize their orders, as they can at chains such as Chipotle, Five Guys and Subway.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain says it’s testing a “build-your-own burger” concept in Laguna Niguel, Calif., that lets customers pick from a variety of toppings. Its new Dollar Menu and More also features five sandwiches with different sauces and toppings.

McDonald’s is equipping its kitchens with new “assembly tables” that can accommodate more ingredients. The tables will also help improve the speed of service, which has become an issue for McDonald’s as it has expanded its menu.

VW says union issue won’t affect US plans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A top Volkswagen labor official says a pending decision about union representation for workers at the automaker’s lone U.S. plant will have no bearing on whether the company will decide to add the production of another vehicle there.

The world’s third-largest automaker, which is mulling whether to make a new SUV in Mexico or Tennessee, shocked Southern union foes by engaging in talks with the United Auto Workers about creating a German-style “works council” at the Chattanooga, Tenn., plant.

Southern politicians say they fear a successful UAW organization of the Volkswagen plant would hurt the region’s ability to attract future investment, and that it could lead to the spread of organized labor to other foreign car makers.

But labor leaders like Bernd Osterloh, head of the Volkswagen’s global works councils and a member of the company’s supervisory board, stress that the Chattanooga plant is alone among major Volkswagen facilities around the world in that it does not have formal worker representation.

China hopes reforms will boost economy

BEIJING — China’s leaders pledged Friday to open state-dominated industries wider to private competition and ease limits on foreign investment in e-commerce and other businesses in a sweeping reform plan aimed at rejuvenating a slowing economy.

The changes promised in a report issued following a closely watched Communist Party conference could be China’s most significant economic overhaul in at least two decades. State media have compared the effort to market-style reforms in 1978 that launched China’s economic boom.

Chinese leaders are trying to replace a growth model based on exports and investment that has run out of steam after delivering three decades of rapid growth. Reform advocates say economic growth rates will plunge, undermining the ruling party’s claim to power, if industries controlled by state companies are not opened to competition.

Wire reports

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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