April 11, 2014

SC business notebook, April 11

Nasdaq leads bad day on Wall Street; Westinghouse wants $500 million from Duke Energy; Boeing moving 1,000 jobs from Washington to California; and, Google Glass to be widely available

Nasdaq leads bad day on Wall Street

The Nasdaq had its worst day since 2011 as investors dumped biotechnology shares and other industries that have soared over the past year. Biogen Idec, Gilead Sciences and other biotech companies plunged. After a huge run-up, those stocks have become volatile in recent weeks amid scrutiny over the cost of their drugs. Facebook and Twitter, other recent investor favorites, also dropped. The Nasdaq composite index lost 129 points, or 3.1 percent, to close 4,054, its biggest drop since November 2011. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 266 points, 1.6 percent, to 16,170. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 39 points, or 2.1 percent, to 1,833. Ninety-six percent of the stocks in the index fell.

Westinghouse wants $500 million from Duke Energy

Westinghouse Electric Co. wants Duke Energy to pony up almost $500 million related to the canceled Levy County nuclear project. Duke denies it owes Westinghouse any money and has now sued for a refund of $54 million for work it says was never performed. The case, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte is the latest dispute over a project that was once estimated to cost Duke’s 1.7 million customers $24.7 billion. Duke announced plans to cancel the two-reactor project last year in part because of licensing delays by federal regulators and after reports in the Tampa Bay Times showed it would be more cost effective to build a natural gas facility. By that time, the utility had already spent $1.5 billion on siting, planning, engineering, parts, financing costs and its own profit expenses state regulators passed onto Duke’s Florida customers in settlement agreements over the last two years.

Boeing moving 1,000 jobs from Washington to California

Boeing is moving about 1,000 of its customer support jobs out of Washington and into Southern California. The company said Thursday that it is centralizing its customer support to its engineering design center in Southern California. It already employs 1,800 people at its Long Beach and Seal Beach sites there. Boeing says the employees in the Puget Sound region affected by the decision will be given the chance to apply for jobs in California or elsewhere in the company. The company says the move will tap into existing engineering talent in California and improve customer service by putting its resources in a single location. Boeing, which is based in Chicago, established engineering design centers last year in South Carolina, Southern California and Washington to meet increasing demand for its airplanes.

Google Glass to be widely available

A lot more people are about to get a chance to own the Internet-connected eyewear known as Google Glass, the hottest accessory in geek fashion. Google will sell the “Explorer” version of Glass to any U.S. resident who places an online order for the device beginning at noon South Carolina time April 15. The product will cost $1,500.

The Associated Press and Tampa Bay Times contributed.

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