NEW YORK (AP) -- The Institute for Supply Management's latest gauge of the manufacturing sector has come as a bit of a downer for investors. While it still shows activity growing in March, the drop-off from February was more than economists had expected. The Dow was down about 25 points at midday, but has regained a little ground since. The S&P 500, which finished last week at an all-time high, is also lower in afternoon trading as is the Nasdaq.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says 480 workers on the president's budget staff have been notified of possible furloughs. The days off without pay are a result of the automatic spending cuts forced by Washington's budget stalemate. Press secretary Jay Carney wouldn't say whether notices have gone out to any West Wing staff, but he does say pay cuts remain a possibility.
BEIJING (AP) -- Apple is apologizing to Chinese consumers over its repair policies. The apology follows two weeks of attacks in China's government-run media portraying Apple as the latest Western company to exploit the Chinese consumer. The attacks have backfired with Chinese consumers who generally revere Apple and its products. But the company says the complaints have prompted "deep reflection" and persuaded it to revamp its repair policies, boost communication with Chinese consumers and strengthen oversight of authorized resellers.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines has settled lawsuits with Orbitz over the online travel agency's display of information about American flights and fares. The companies did not disclose terms in announcing the settlement today. American has been fighting with Orbitz and other companies, saying it can better serve customers if it provides flight and price information directly to travel agents.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says smokers trying to quit can safely use nicotine gum, patches and lozenges for longer than the 12 weeks that had been recommended. The federal agency also says the makers of nicotine replacement products also can change the labels that say not to smoke when using the products.
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