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AP Top Business News At 12:14 p.m. EST

Wal-Mart CEO talks about pay raises, how customers shop and what he's learned from critics
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- When Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon took the top job at the world's largest retailer last year, he inherited some big problems....

Applications for US unemployment benefits jump to 313,000; level still points to solid hiring
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More Americans sought unemployment aid last week, though the number of applications was still consistent with steady hiring....

Report: Surge in Chinese investment overwhelms US regulators and raises risks of fraud
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chinese investors seeking green cards to live in America run the risk of being defrauded under a loosely regulated visa program, according to a report Thursday from a federal watchdog....

Panel recommends new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks, not routine shots
ATLANTA (AP) -- A federal panel on Thursday recommended that two new meningitis vaccines only be used for rare outbreaks, resisting tearful pleas to give it routinely to teens and college students....

About Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Doug McMillon...

No money? No problem! Small businesses decline deals and still thrive after "Shark Tank"
NEW YORK (AP) -- With the cameras rolling, Daniel and Stephanie Rensing accepted an offer from a "Shark Tank" investor. But after they had time to think about it, they changed their minds....

Vilsack: Smartphones could be answer in debate over labeling of genetically modified foods
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the ever-complicated debate over labeling of genetically modified foods, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offers this idea: Use your smartphone....

US market indexes drift mostly lower in midday trading, pulling Dow below its latest record
U.S. stock indexes are drifting mostly lower in midday trading, pulling the Dow Jones industrial average slightly below its latest all-time high....

Fruits, vegetables to get celebrity-studded marketing campaign; push to begin on social media
NEW YORK (AP) -- What if cauliflower got the same type of marketing firepower as candy bars and potato chips?...

Plunging gas lowers US consumer price index 0.7 pct., but excluding energy and food, costs up
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A plunge in gas prices last month lowered consumer prices by the most in six years. But excluding the volatile food and energy costs, prices rose....

Business Video
Captains of industry: Comparing CEO pay and performance
Unemployment by the numbers
Up to the Minute
UnitedHealth wants advance notice on hysterectomies, says it won't cover some procedures

American Express increases awards on popular card, but raises fee at the same time

Business Highlights

JC Penney shares slide after disappointing results for holiday shopping season quarter

Gap 4th-quarter results top estimates as Old Navy sales grow; company plans $1B stock buyback

How the Dow Jones industrial average and other major indexes fared on Thursday

Pew study: Americans still feeling financial stress despite improved job market, economy

SeaWorld, Sears, Cyberonics, and Emulex are big market movers

US stock indexes drift mostly lower, led by declines in energy companies as oil prices slide

Average US mortgage rates this week and for the past year, at a glance