Global Glance: Aetna backs off ACA expansion plans, Japan OKs new stimulus

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Health insurer Aetna backs off ACA expansion plans

Aetna is calling off its public insurance exchange expansion plans for next year, as it becomes the latest big insurer to cast doubt on the future of a key element of the Affordable Care Act. The nation’s third largest insurer said Tuesday that significant challenges faced by the state-based exchanges are forcing the company to withdraw expansion its plans and think about its future participation in the 15 states where it currently sells coverage. Aetna was planning to expand to a few states like New Jersey and Indiana for 2017. The Hartford, Connecticut, insurer said earlier this year that it had lost more than $100 million on its exchange business last year, but company leaders said they thought the exchanges still might represent a good business opportunity. Read more

Japan cabinet OKs new stimulus package to pump up growth

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Cabinet approved a fresh economic stimulus package on Tuesday worth more than 28 trillion yen ($275 billion), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest effort to get the stalling recovery back on track. Abe called the package, part of a supplementary budget for the parliament to approve in an extraordinary session starting in September, “an investment for the future.” It focuses on Japan’s agriculture and tourism, and on providing support for the child and elder care industry to enable more women to work full-time, since the labor force is shrinking as the population ages. Read more

Verizon to buy Fleetmatics for about $2.4 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon said Monday that it plans to pay about $2.4 billion to buy Fleetmatics, which makes software used by cable companies, energy providers and others to manage their fleets of vehicles Fleetmatics, based in Dublin, said it has more than 37,000 customers that use its software to track the location of vehicles driven by workers. Verizon, which provides cellphone and internet service, said the deal will boost its workforce management business. The new deal comes a week after New York-based Verizon said it would pay $4.8 billion to buy Yahoo Inc.’s websites, apps and other properties. Read more

Stressed times for Europe’s banks despite rosy assessment

LONDON (AP) — The recent stress tests into Europe’s biggest banks were meant to reassure that, on the whole, they are strong enough to withstand another crisis. A slump in share prices across the sector since last Friday’s publication of the tests results suggests many investors are not convinced. On Tuesday, bank stocks across Europe – even those that were effectively given a clean bill of health by the European Banking Authority’s tests – were down sharply for the second day running and weighing heavily on the wider market indexes. The falls aren’t just confined to Italy, where concerns over the health of the banking sector have been the most acute. Britain’s Barclays PLC was down 3.2 percent while Credit Suisse slid 6.2 percent and Italy’s UniCredit fell another 4.2 percent. Read more

Tesla’s deal for SolarCity could speed sustainable energy

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla wants to put its car and energy storage businesses under one solar-powered roof. Tesla said Monday it will buy solar panel maker SolarCity Corp. in an all-stock deal worth $2.6 billion. The deal must still be approved by the government and shareholders at both companies. It’s expected to close in the fourth quarter if it goes through. Thirteen-year-old Tesla currently makes two luxury vehicles – the Model S sedan and Model X SUV- as well as Powerwall and Powerpack energy storage units for homes and businesses. The company said Monday that a tie-up with SolarCity would create a one-stop shop for cleaner energy. Read more

Survey: US factories expanded for 5th straight month in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — American factories expanded for a fifth straight month in July, another sign that U.S. manufacturers are recovering from damage caused by a strong dollar. But a measure of factory employment fell. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its manufacturing index last month read 52.6. That’s down from 53.2 in June, but anything higher than 50 signals growth. Production grew faster. New orders grew at a slightly slower pace. Read more

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