NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are sharply lower as oil prices continue to fall. There are also concerns about the strength of China's economy after a report showed that factory output in the world's second-largest economy declined in November. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down nearly 200 points in afternoon trading.
LONDON (AP) — The International Energy Agency has lowered its forecast for global oil demand next year and warns that oil-producing economies could be hit hard. The agency says global oil demand in 2015 will grow by 900,000 barrels a day, 230,000 less than previously forecast. Falling prices are good for drivers but not for energy companies. Reduced earnings could crimp spending on plants and machinery. And if low prices persist, some U.S. oil producers could go out of business as the cost of extracting oil exceeds its market price.
UNDATED (AP) — A Pew Research Center study finds that the economic recovery hasn't been equal among the races. Researchers analyzing data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances found that the wealth of white households was 13 times greater than that of black households in 2013, and more than 10 times that of Hispanic households. The gap between whites and blacks is at its highest point since 1989.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Labor Relations Board is issuing a final rule to modernize and streamline the union election process. The new rule will shorten the time between when an election is ordered and the election itself, eliminating a previous 25-day waiting period. And it seeks to reduce litigation that can be used to stall elections. It will also require employers to furnish union organizers with email addresses and phone numbers of workers. Unions have long complained the process is too long.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Eight Greenpeace activists who staged an eye-catching protest at Procter & Gamble Co. headquarters in Cincinnati in March have pleaded guilty to trespassing. A judge ordered each of them to complete 80 hours of community service and pay court costs. The protesters unfurled large, colorful banners from P&G's two towers while protesting deforestation related to the supply of palm oil. P&G has said it's working with Greenpeace on the issue.