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  • HOUSTON, Feb 1- Union workers took to picket lines on Sunday after strikes were called at nine U.S. refineries and chemical plants in a bid to pressure oil companies to agree to a new national contract covering workers at 63 plants. The United Steelworkers union said Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the lead industry negotiator, halted talks after the union rejected a fifth...

  • The United Steelworkers Union called for its refinery workers to stage their largest walkout in more 30 years Sunday, saying its negotiations with Shell Oil Co. broke down less than two weeks after they began. The union asked about 3,800 workers at nine refineries mostly in Texas and California to strike shortly after their previous contract expired after...

  • NEW YORK— "American Sniper" has shot down another box-office record: Its $31.9 million is the biggest Super Bowl weekend gross ever. The concert film " Hanna Montana/ Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" earned $31.1 million earned in 2008.. The animated adaptation "Paddington" came in a distant second with $8.5 million, in a virtual tie with Paramount's...

  • The share of people in each state who reported taking out a payday loan in the past five years, which ranged from 1 percent to 13 percent, according to a 2012 survey by Pew Charitable Trusts. Because the Pew survey was only conducted in the continental U.S., the figures do not include Alaska or Hawaii. In cases where states had too few survey respondents, the percentage...

  • And the next likely regional Fed presidents are... Sunday, 1 Feb 2015 | 3:36 AM ET
    Matthew Rutherford, assistant secretary for financial markets at the U.S. Treasury

    A U.S. Treasury official and a director at the New York Federal Reserve are among those who have been considered to replace two hawkish Fed policymakers, according to people familiar with the searches.

  • The evidence even suggests they were annoyed that their assignment wasn't more like a James Bond film. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich countered by accusing U.S. authorities of manufacturing a spy scandal as part of its "anti-Russian campaign." Annemarie McAvoy, a Fordham Law professor and former federal prosecutor, said the latest...

  • The Exxon Mobil Corp refinery in Beaumont, Texas, received a strike notice on Friday night, according to the company. The Beaumont plant was the only Exxon refinery to receive a notice. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Motiva Enterprises refineries have not received strike notices, a spokesman said on Saturday.

  • Final decisions are not imminent in the efforts to find successors to Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, who steps down March 1, and Richard Fisher of the Dallas Fed, who retires on March 19. James McAndrews, who heads up research at the neighboring New York Fed, was considered for the job in Philadelphia, where he once worked. Regular golfing partners,...

  • LOS ANGELES, Jan 30- California's Kern County was put on notice for a possible downgrade on Friday by ratings agency Moody's Investor Service, three days after the county declared a fiscal emergency. On Tuesday, Kern County in California's Central Valley declared a fiscal emergency, citing plunging oil prices and growing pension debt as the main reasons for a...

  • SAN FRANCISCO— Uber Technologies says that if you catch a ride with one of its drivers, your personal and financial data are safe— from Uber itself. The ride-booking company on Friday used a blog post to release the results of what it described as a thorough outside examination of its privacy and personal data policies. While popular with users and investors, the...

  • Uber probed by U.S. judge on driver benefits Friday, 30 Jan 2015 | 7:19 PM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 30- A U.S. judge appeared skeptical on Friday about Uber's bid for a quick pretrial ruling that its drivers are contractors and not employees, a critical question facing Silicon Valley's sharing economy. App-based ride service Uber, and smaller rival Lyft, face separate lawsuits seeking class action status in San Francisco federal court,...

  • LAGUNA BEACH, California— An exceedingly opulent seaside resort in Southern California has sold for an eye-popping $360 million. That price tag for the Montage Laguna Beach— which comes to $1.4 million per room— "shattered the price barrier for California hotels by a wide margin," hotel consultant Alan Reay of Atlas Hospitality tells the Los Angeles Times on...

  • WASHINGTON, Jan 30- Food distributor Sysco Corp and its biggest rival, US Foods Inc, have offered to sell a smaller competitor 11 facilities in order to convince skeptical antitrust regulators to approve their $3.5 billion merger, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters. The deal, proposed in December 2013, is seen as problematic because Sysco and US Foods are...

  • IBM boss gets bonus despite company's woes Friday, 30 Jan 2015 | 6:34 PM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO— IBM boss Virginia Rometty will get a $3.6 million bonus for her performance last year, even though the company's sales and profits declined in 2014.. Rometty and other top executives did not take bonuses for 2013, after IBM turned in disappointing results for that year. IBM is also raising her target bonus to $5 million for 2015. In addition, the...

  • WASHINGTON/ SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 30- AT&T Inc spent close to half the total in the record-setting U.S. sale of airwaves for mobile data, with Dish Network Corp spending heavily to manage a surprise win at No.2 ahead of Verizon, results showed on Friday. Verizon and T-Mobile bids were $10.4 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively, according to the results of the Federal...

  • Bank of Commerce posts 4Q profit Friday, 30 Jan 2015 | 4:33 PM ET

    REDDING, Calif. _ Bank of Commerce Holdings on Friday reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.7 million. Bank of Commerce shares have declined slightly more than 4 percent since the beginning of the year. Keywords: Bank of Commerce, Earnings Report.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 30- Ride service Uber, which is trying to enhance its image after several controversies, on Friday released the findings of a report on its handling of passenger data and said it would act on all the report's recommendations for improvements. Management at the San Francisco- based company, which announced the report's findings in a blog post,...

  • WASHINGTON/ SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 30- AT&T Inc spent close to half the total in the record-setting U.S. sale of airwaves for mobile data, with Verizon Communications Inc and bidding partners of Dish Network Corp also spending heavily, results showed on Friday. AT&T bid a total of $18.2 billion to win licenses of so-called AWS-3 spectrum; Verizon bid $10.4 billion and...

  • WASHINGTON, Jan 30- Multinational corporations would get a tax holiday on hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign profits under a measure proposed by two U.S. senators on Friday. Democrat Barbara Boxer of California and Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky called for allowing businesses to pay 6.5 percent corporate income tax on foreign profits brought into...

  • Recalls this week: space heaters, orbital sanders Friday, 30 Jan 2015 | 3:45 PM ET

    About 34,000 oil-filled space heaters are being recalled because they could spray heated oil, posing a scald hazard. Other recalled products this week include orbital sanders with a short-circuit hazard and candles that are a fire hazard. They were sold at Target and small department stores nationwide from August 2014 through November 2014.