CNN Money: Top business headlines for Jan. 9

    6:43 AM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Thursday, January 9.

    Stone House Capital again raises USA Truck stake
    Stone House Capital Management of New York, the top shareholder of USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren, has again increased its stake in the trucking firm to 1.55 million shares. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company disclosed buying 50,000 shares of USA Truck (Nasdaq: USAK) at about $12.88 per share. Shares of USA Truck are trading at about $13.59 on Wednesday. Stone House has been steadily adding to its USA Truck holdings since November, when it purchased 101,279 of USA Truck shares. The transaction made it the top shareholder of USA Truck stock at nearly 14 percent. On Dec. 2, it reported buying an additional 54,891 shares at $14.08 per share. The stock purchases have come amid a spike in USA Truck's share price. The stock has risen since September, when Knight Transportation of Phoenix disclosed its offer to buy USA Truck for $9 per share. At the time, USA Truck shares were trading at around $6.50 per share.

    Storm costs airlines up to $100 million
    The storm and cold weather of the last week will cost the nation's airlines as much as $100 million in lost revenue and increased costs, according to an estimate from a leading airline analyst. Helane Becker, airline analyst with Cowen and Co., said the weather would cost U.S. airlines between $50 million and $100 million in an estimate released Wednesday. Becker said the weather caused about 20,000 flights cancellations nationwide, which she said is 5,000 more flights than were canceled in due to Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Becker does not break down the cost per airline, but she noted that JetBlue Airways (JBLU, Fortune 500) was hit particularly hard by the storm. The New York-based airline had to virtually halt operations at those airports Monday afternoon into Tuesday after delays in the previous three days caused the airline to run out of pilots able to fly under new FAA rules requiring addition rest for pilots.

    Page from Netflix, Hulu promotes original shows
    There are two faces to Hulu, the online video hub owned by the parent companies of ABC, Fox and NBC. Hulu is a destination for next-day repeats of TV shows that have already aired on those and other networks. But for a variety of business reasons, it's becoming harder for Hulu to hold onto those shows. So Hulu is increasingly also a home for TV shows that it can call its own -- ones that haven't been on other networks before. That's the face it wants to show the world. On Wednesday, Hulu announced a lineup of programming for the New Year that it says is its most extensive to date. Among the announcements were second seasons of three shows it launched in 2013: "The Awesomes," "Behind the Mask" and "Quick Draw." Hulu also set a premiere date, April 9, for "Deadbeat," a supernatural comedy that it is co-producing with Lionsgate Television.

    Real-life Iron Man suits
    In 1965 the American military approached Walt Disney for a very special project. They wanted Disney engineers to build them an exoskeleton-basically a real-life Iron Man suit. The Navy sent a request for proposals to WED Enterprises-Disney's design and architecture shop, now called Walt Disney Imagineering-hoping that they'd jump at the opportunity. But unfortunately for the U.S. military, Disney had no interest in the project. Disney collectibles dealer Phil Sears has two internal Disney memos talking about the RFP up on his site. Despite the fact that there could have been considerable overlap with Disney's research and the military's needs at the time, there was a tremendous amount of skepticism by the big man himself. You can see Walt Disney's own handwritten "NO" scrawled in thick red pencil.



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