Financial
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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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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Heads up, World Cup teams: The robots are coming PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By KATHY MATHESON Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 July 2014 06:56
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When robots first started playing soccer, it was a challenge for them just to see the ball. And to stay upright.
But the machines participating in this month’s international RoboCup tournament are making passes and scoring points. Their ultimate goal? To beat the human World Cup champs within the next 35 years.
“It’s hard to predict what will happen in 2050, but we are on the right path,” said event co-founder Manuela Veloso, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
A week after the World Cup title game in Rio de Janeiro, teams from 45 countries will face off at RoboCup about 1,200 miles away in the Brazilian coastal town of Joao Pessoa.
The “players,” which range from life-size humanoids to wheeled objects the size of soccer balls, compete in size-based divisions on miniature indoor fields. The tournament runs from July 19-25.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 06:58
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