CEOs group unveils proposal to raise retirement age to 70

An influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.

The Business Roundtable’s plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.

Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health.

“America can preserve the health and retirement safety net and rein in long-term spending growth by modernizing Medicare and Social Security in a way that addresses America’s new fiscal and demographic realities,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and chief executive of casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Loveman, who chairs the Business Roundtable’s health and retirement committee, said the business leaders will be meeting with members of Congress and the administration to press them to enact their plan. 

Boeing’s stock plummets, taking Dow average lower

More problems for Boeing’s 787 sent the aircraft maker’s stock down sharply Wednesday, dragging the Dow Jones industrial average lower.

Japan’s two biggest airlines grounded all their Boeing 787s for safety checks Wednesday after one was forced to make an emergency landing. The plane, known as the Dreamliner, has been plagued by a series of problems this year, including a battery fire and fuel leaks. Boeing’s stock sank $2.60 to $74.34, a loss of 3 percent.

The Dow lost 23.66 points to close at 13,511.23. Without Boeing’s drop, the Dow would have ended the day nearly flat.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index inched up 0.29 to 1,472.63. A gain in Apple helped pull the Nasdaq composite up 6.77 points to 3,117.54.

Apple rose $20.17 to $506.09, ending a three-day slide. The world’s largest publicly traded company closed below $500 on Tuesday for the first time in nearly a year. Concerns that the popularity of its iPhone is waning have pushed Apple’s stock down 5 percent this month.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, rose after both posted quarterly results that trounced estimates.

Harry Clark, chairman of Clark Capital Management Group in Philadelphia, described JPMorgan’s numbers as staggering. The bank’s quarterly earnings jumped 55 percent and total revenue for the year hit $100 billion. 

Cirque du Soleil idling 400, mostly at its Montreal base

The world-renowned Cirque du Soleil circus troupe is laying off 400 people — most of them at its Montreal headquarters.

Increased production costs and expenses are being blamed for the layoffs, which will begin by the end of the month.

– From news service reports