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TOKYO (AP) — European stock markets gained in early trading today after the European Central Bank's governor Mario Draghi said its quantitative easing policy will continue for as long as needed. Share prices in China weakened though other Asian stock markets gained. Futures point to opening gains on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell but remains above $59.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.
WASHINGTON — It's a relatively light day for economic data, but the report due this morning should offer a fresh read on whether or not the economy is finding its footing. The Federal Reserve issues its report on industrial production for April. Industrial production in March registered the biggest drop in almost six years, providing further evidence of the economy's stumbling start to 2015. For the first three months of the year, industrial output fell at an annual rate of 1 percent.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea is jumping big into parenting apps that monitor kids' smart phone use remotely. One called "Smart Sheriff," allows a parent to see a child's phone activity, disable apps or totally shut down the phone. At least 14 other apps provide similar features. Use will likely increase now that South Korea's Korea Communications Commission, which has sweeping powers, required telecoms and parents to ensure one of the monitoring apps is installed when anyone aged 18 years or under gets a new smartphone.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pandora Media Inc. says it will appeal a court hearing in a dispute with music publishing rights group BMI over royalty rates. The Internet streaming leader says it's confident it can win later since the appeals court — the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York — last week ruled in its favor in a case against the other major publishing group known as ASCAP. Thursday's ruling would force Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of its revenue to songwriters and music publishers.
CHICAGO (AP) — Another rating agency has downgraded Chicago's credit. Standard & Poor's lowered its rating of the city's general obligation bonds two notches to A- from A+, though that's still investment grade. Standard & Poor's action Thursday follows a decision earlier this week by Moody's Investor's Service to lower Chicago's credit worthiness to junk status. The lower credit ratings increase the cost of the city's borrowing. Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Moody's downgrade "irresponsible."