More evidence of factory slowdown in China

Chinese manufacturing activity fell to its lowest in more than six years in the latest sign of the slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy, according to a survey released Wednesday. The preliminary Caixin/Market index, which is based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, fell to 47.0 in September from 47.3 in August. Numbers below 50 on the 100-point index indicate contraction. The index is at its lowest since March 2009, when the world was gripped by the fallout from the global financial crisis. Factory output, export orders, overall new orders and employment all shrank at a faster pace, the report said.

BofA's Moynihan keeps both his titles

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan will keep both his CEO and chairman positions after a vote by shareholders. It was a significant win for the bank, which had lobbied hard for the dual role. Only 63 percent of eligible shareholders voted in favor, however, far from a solid majority, showing how far the bank must still go to win the trust of its investors. In 2009, BofA's shareholders voted to strip the chairman title from then-CEO Ken Lewis, partly as a vote of no-confidence following a series of bungled and controversial acquisitions, including the purchase of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial and the financial firm Merrill Lynch.

Goldman's Blankfein has curable lymphoma

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for nearly a decade, said he has a curable form of lymphoma that will curtail his travel but allow him to continue working. In a statement on the company's website, Blankfein said that after feeling poorly for several weeks this summer, he underwent a series of tests that ended last week with a biopsy. The test revealed a treatable form of cancer of the lymphatic system, which helps rid the body of toxins. "Fortunately, my form of lymphoma is highly curable and my doctors' and my own expectation is that I will be cured," Blankfein said.

Groupon to cut 1,100 jobs, exit more areas

Groupon Inc. is cutting 1,100 jobs in the coming year, roughly 10 percent of its workforce. The e-commerce and online deals company said in a blog post that the cuts are mainly in its international business. Having already closed its operations in Greece and Turkey, Groupon said it is also leaving Morocco, Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay. The Chicago company said it wants to focus its money and energy on fewer countries. Groupon Inc. said in a regulatory filing that the cuts will be essentially done by September 2016 and lead to pretax charges of up to $35 million, the bulk of it in the current quarter.

Apple to refund users of ad-blocking app

Apple is refunding all purchases of Peace, the popular ad-blocking app that was pulled from the App Store last week after its creator changed his mind. Peace founder Marco Arment saw his $2.99 app skyrocket in popularity when it was released last week. But soon he was lamenting that its success "just doesn't feel good" amid questions about the ethics of ad-blocking software. Two days later, he took it down after the app became the No. 1 paid app in the U.S. App Store for about 36 hours. In a blog post, Arment said he was notified by Apple that it would be "proactively refunding" customers.

Ashland to split off its Valvoline business

Ashland Inc. plans to separate its Valvoline business into a new publicly traded company following a review, ending several years of speculation over whether it would split off the global motor-lubricants brand. Valvoline President Sam Mitchell will be the new company's chief executive, Covington, Ky.-based Ashland said in a statement. Ashland CEO William Wulfsohn will lead the remaining specialty chemicals businesses. Ashland said the separation will be tax-free and its investors will end up holding shares in both companies.

Starbucks rolls out Mobile Order & Pay

You can now order and pay for that venti nonfat no-whip extra-hot caramel macchiato before stepping foot in Starbucks. The coffee giant announced that it is rolling out Mobile Order & Pay at its more than 7,400 company-owned Starbucks locations nationwide. Customers can access the feature in the Starbucks app on an iOS or Android device. The program will expand to some stores in Canada and Britain in October. The Mobile Order & Pay feature enables customers to choose a store, select beverage and food items, view the estimated time the order will be ready, and prepay for the order.

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