Financial
Once a niche, local foods becoming big business PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press   
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 08:20
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Once a niche business, locally grown foods aren’t just for farmers markets anymore.
A growing network of companies and organizations is delivering food directly from local farms to major institutions like Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in downtown Philadelphia, eliminating scores of middlemen from farm to fork. Along the way, they’re increasing profits and recognition for smaller farms and bringing consumers healthier, fresher foods.
Over the past five years, with more than $25 million in federal aid, these so-called food hubs have helped transform locally grown foods into a bigger business, supplying hospitals, schools, restaurant chains and grocery stores as consumer demand grows.
Major institutions like Jefferson have long relied on whatever giant food service companies provide, often processed foods that are delivered efficiently and are easy to heat and serve. But with a steady supply of locally grown food from the Common Market food hub, Jefferson now serves vegetables like bok choy and asparagus, creamy yogurts from Amish country and omelets with locally sourced cage-free eggs and spinach.
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Citigroup to pay $7B in subprime mortgages probe PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 09:10
WASHINGTON (AP) — Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into its handling of risky subprime mortgages, admitting to a pattern of deception that Attorney General Eric Holder said “shattered lives” and contributed to the worst financial crisis in decades, the Justice Department said Monday.
The settlement represents a moment of reckoning for one of the country’s biggest and most significant banks, which is now accountable for providing some financial support to Americans whose lives were dismantled by the largest economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
In addition to a $4 billion civil penalty being paid to the federal government, the bank will also pay $2.5 billion in consumer relief in part to help borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure and about $500 million to settle claims from state attorneys general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 09:12
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US retail sales tick up just 0.2 percent in June PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER AP Economics Writer   
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 09:14
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales increased slightly in June, evidence that consumers remain cautious despite steady job gains this year.
Retail sales rose just 0.2 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, held back by a sharp drop at building materials and garden supply stores. Sales also fell at restaurants and at auto dealers.
The figures suggest that Americans are reluctant to spend freely, which could slow growth in the April-June quarter. While employers have stepped up hiring since January, wage growth remains weak and is barely keeping up with inflation. Retail sales are closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy.
Still, there were some good signs: A measure of retail sales that excludes volatile categories such as gasoline and autos rose at a solid 0.6 percent clip. Clothing stores, sporting goods stores and department stores all recorded sales gains.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 09:17
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More ’headline-grabbing’ corporate deals expected PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By PAN PYLAS Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 July 2014 07:00
LONDON (AP) — More “headline-grabbing” acquisitions are likely over the coming year as businesses take advantage of a period of improving economic growth and cheap financing.
That’s the conclusion of a survey by business consulting firm EY, which says the value of takeover deals announced in the first half of 2014 struck its highest level since the end of the boom years in 2007.
In its half-yearly update of corporate activity, EY said Thursday that the value of deals rose by 50 percent from the same period the year before to $1.7 trillion. Not since the global financial crisis first erupted, prompting companies to batten down the hatches, has the value of deals been that high.
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