Judge blocks vote on Apple proposal
A federal judge is blocking Apple from conducting a shareholder vote on a package of governance proposals, handing a victory to a rebel investor who is trying to persuade the company to share more of its cash with its investors.
U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in New York ruled Friday that Apple Inc. was wrong to bundle four amendments to its corporate charter into one proposal for a vote at next Wednesday’s annual meeting. Shareholders should get to vote on the amendments separately, he said.
Microsoft lapse leads to outages of Azure
Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday, triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers.
The sloppy housekeeping represents an embarrassing lapse for Microsoft Corp. as the software maker tries to bring in more revenue from the storage service, which is called Azure.
The expired certificate is needed to properly run online services such as Azure which use an “https” protocol to block unauthorized users from accessing information.
Microsoft’s failure to renew the security certificate apparently caused the Azure service to go down shortly before 4 p.m. EST Friday. The breakdown prevented Azure customers from accessing files kept in Microsoft’s data centers.
Moody’s downgrades UK rating to AA1
Credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Britain’s government bond rating one notch from the top AAA to AA1 Friday, saying sluggish growth and rising debt were weakening the country’s medium-term outlook.
Treasury chief George Osborne said the blow only redoubled his resolve “to deliver our economic recovery plan,” based on deep spending cuts.
Moody’s said “subdued” growth prospects and a “high and rising debt burden” were weighing on the British economy.
Oil levels off after 2 days of steep losses
The price of oil was little changed Friday after a 5 percent fall over the last two days. The drop in crude showed signs of slowing the upward spiral of gas pump prices as well, at least temporarily.
Benchmark crude for April delivery rose 29 cents to finish at $93.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, used to price oil that many U.S. refineries use to make gasoline, rose 57 cents at end at $114.10 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
At the pump, the national average for a gallon of regular gas was $3.78, about where it was Thursday, but 14 cents higher than a week ago and almost half a dollar more than a month ago, according to AAA. Drivers in California, Florida, the Northeast and the Midwest are paying the most.
Selected local stocks
Aqua America, .70, 28.93 .36
Clear Channel, .33 32.36 .46
Cortland Bancorp, 10.50.50
Farmers Nat., .126.34 .14
First Energy, 2.20, 40.54.64
FirstMerit Corp., .64,15.10 .14
First Niles Financial, .32,7.18.08
First Place Fin., .004.00
FNB Corp., .48,11.68.05
General Electric, .76,23.39.13
Motors Liquidation, .0422.00
Huntington Bank, .16, 6.98.12
JP Morgan Chase, 1.20,48.91.66
Key Corp, .20,9.51.17
LaFarge, 16.24 .36
Macy’s, .80, 39.08—.25
Parker Hannifin, 1.64, 94.541.28
RTI Intl. Metals,29.72.62
Simon Prop. Grp.,4.40,159.721.70
Stoneridge 6.50 —.10
United Community Fin. 3.34—.02
Selected prices at 4 p.m. Friday. Provided by Stifel Nicolaus. Not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security.