Today: New reports say Apple (AAPL) is close to announcing a deal to bring iPhones to Japan's largest mobile carrier, but labor abuses are reported at a Chinese factory making the new devices. Also, LinkedIn and Facebook hit record highs.

The lead: Good news and bad news for Apple

As Apple rumors continue to fly in the buildup to next week's expected unveiling of two new iPhone models, a pair of reports surfaced Thursday that could have long-term consequences both good and bad.

On the positive side, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei as well as Yahoo (YHOO) Japan reported Apple has reached a deal to sell iPhones through NTT Docomo, Japan's biggest mobile phone carrier, starting this fall. Docomo has 60 million subscribers in Japan, almost half the country's population. Apple's current exclusive deal is with Japan's third-biggest carrier, SoftBank, which has about 23 million subscribers.

A day earlier, Apple sent a cryptic invitation to media members in Beijing, Tokyo and Berlin for an event scheduled just after next week's announcement in Cupertino. Indications are that the Beijing event will be to announce a distribution deal with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier with 710 million subscribers. Speculation now is that the Docomo deal will be announced at the Tokyo event.

If true, those moves could significantly boost Apple's market share in Asia, where it has sharply fallen in the face of stiff competition from Korean-based archrival Samsung.

But Asia is also the source of a possible new problem for Apple, as a human rights group claimed labor abuses as a Chinese factory that builds new iPhone components.

According to a report by Bloomberg News, the group China Labor Watch is accusing Florida-based Apple contractor Jabil Circuit Inc. of, among other things, imposing excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, five-minute meal breaks and requiring female workers to pass a pregnancy test before being hired. The alleged abuses were recorded at a plant that is building plastic components for an expected new, cheaper iPhone model, the group said.

Labor violations are not a new problem for Apple's Asian suppliers. Contractors Foxconn and Pegatron have previously been cited for abuses at factories, and last year Apple vowed to strictly audit the factories to ensure proper working conditions.

"We take any concerns about our suppliers very seriously, and our team of experts is on-site at Jabil Wuxi to look into the new claims about conditions there," Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet said Thursday in a statement.

Apple shares dipped on the day, down $3.42, or 0.69 percent, to $495.27.

SV150 market report: LinkedIn, Facebook hit records

Social media stocks leaped Thursday, led by a nearly 4 percent gain by LinkedIn. The Mountain View professional networking site rose $9.42, or 3.94 percent, to close at an all-time high of $248.35, but not before also hitting a record intraday price of $249.98.

Earlier in the day, LinkedIn announced it would expand its planned share sale by 20 percent, to $1.2 billion. According to Bloomberg News, LinkedIn is offering 5.38 million shares at a discount price of $223 a share. The sale is expected to close Sept. 10, and investors are clamoring to get on board. LinkedIn shares have skyrocketed since its 2011 IPO, beating analyst expectations in every quarter and showing robust growth in both subscribers and advertising.

Menlo Park social giant Facebook is facing new privacy complaints after again changing its terms of service, with critics saying the new policy violates a 2011 privacy settlement with the FTC. The outcry didn't hurt Facebook shares, though; they gained 89 cents, or 2.13 percent, to close at $42.67, an all-time high.

Elsewhere, shares in Mountain View-based Google (GOOG) dropped almost 1 percent after it lost a lawsuit to Microsoft over so-called standard, essential patents. A Seattle jury on Wednesday awarded Microsoft about $14 million in damages over violations by Motorola Mobilty, which Google purchased last year. Shares in San Jose e-commerce giant eBay (EBAY) rose almost 1 percent after its PayPal subsidiary updated its mobile payment app with new features, including advance ordering and the capability to pay for a meal while at the table. While some found the new app overly complicated, its release is seen as a promising step in the mobile-payment field, which is predicted to face exponential growth in the coming years. And what's a new logo worth? How about 16 cents a share? That's how much Sunnyvale-based Yahoo rose Thursday after announcing a new, slimmer -- some say boring -- logo. CEO Marissa Mayer was an integral force behind the redesigned logo, which included tilting the exclamation point 9 degrees, "just to add whimsy."

Up: Google, eBay, Yahoo, Netflix, Zynga, Facebook, Yahoo

Down: Apple, Oracle (ORCL), Intel (INTC), Cisco (CSCO), HP, VMware, Tesla

The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 2.30, or 0.18 percent, to 1,312.32

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 9.74 , or 0.27 percent, to 3,658.78.

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 6.61 or 0.04 percent, to 14,937.48.

And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 2.0, or 0.12 percent, to 1,655.08.

Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Follow Mike Murphy on Twitter at @mmmmurf.