BNSF plans temporary worker furloughs
BNSF Railway Co. says it's planning employee furloughs due to slipping freight shipping demand across its rail network. The company said that it hopes to call back employees "as soon as business needs change." The railroad would not say how many employees were being furloughed but that they are "at different locations across our network." BNSF is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and is part of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., based in Omaha, Neb. The railroad is the biggest player in North Dakota's oil patch, hauling most of the more than 1.1 million barrels that moves out of the region daily.
Text glitch affects iPhones; Apple seeks fix
A newly discovered glitch in Apple's software can cause iPhones to mysteriously shut down when they receive a certain text message. Apple says it's aware of the problem and is working on a fix. But some pranksters are sharing information about the glitch on social media and using it to crash other people's phones. The problem occurs only when the iPhone receives a message with a specific string of characters, including some Arabic characters, according to several tech blogs. When an iPhone isn't being used, it typically shows a shortened version of the message on the phone's lock screen. That shortened combination of characters apparently triggers the crash. Affected phones will restart automatically. Owners can prevent the problem by using phone settings to turn off the message "previews" feature.
Stocks recover as investors look to Greece
Stocks ended higher, recovering the most of their losses from the day before, as Greece appeared closer to resolving its latest debt issues. However, the overall market remains directionless as most investors are focused on figuring out when the Federal Reserve's long-awaited interest rate increase may come. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121.45 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,162.99. It had fallen 190 points on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 19.28 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,123.48 and the Nasdaq composite rose 73.84 points, or 1.5 percent, to 5,106.59. The stock market was barely higher for the first half of the day, but gained momentum in the afternoon after Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his country is near a deal with its creditors.
Shareholders back Big Oil management
Shareholders of big oil companies overwhelmingly rejected several environmental resolutions including proposals to put climate-change experts on their boards and set goals for greenhouse-gas emissions. The votes at meetings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. shareholders were expected. Some of the ideas had lost badly at previous annual meetings. Lower prices for crude have cut into the oil giants' profits. At the Exxon Mobil meeting in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson said the company is positioned to withstand ups and down in oil prices and give shareholders a good return on their money. Tillerson has said that said that oil prices will remain low over the next two years because of large global supplies and weak economic growth.
Dimon dismissive of proxy advisers' advice
JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon chided shareholders as "lazy" for casting votes at annual meetings based on the advice of proxy advisers that have questioned his pay and power. "God knows how any of you can place your vote based on ISS or Glass Lewis," Dimon, 59, said Wednesday at an investor conference in New York. "If you do that, you are just irresponsible, I'm sorry. And you probably aren't a very good investor, either." JPMorgan's board is reviewing how it pays top executives including Dimon after a record low percentage of shareholders voted this month to approve their latest packages. Proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis & Co. had recommended investors reject the pay resolution at the firm's annual meeting, saying the bank lacks preset goals to determine compensation and didn't give a good reason for giving Dimon his first cash bonus in three years.
McDonald's to change grilling of burgers
McDonald's is tinkering with how it cooks its burgers, with the aim of winning back customers. McDonald's said it would toast its hamburger buns longer so sandwiches would be warmer, and change the way it sears and grills its beef so that the patties are juicier. "It's these little things that add up to big differences for our customers," the chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, said at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. Mr. Easterbrook, who stepped into his role March 1, said the changes were part of the company's recommitment to "tastier food across the menu." He also said the company would, as many of its rivals have, stop reporting monthly sales.