Financial
U.S.. producer prices dip 0.1 percent in February PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer   
Saturday, 15 March 2014 05:32

WASHINGTON (AP) — The prices companies receive for their goods and services fell slightly in February, the latest sign that inflation is tame.

The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, dropped 0.1 percent in February, the Labor Department said Friday. That's the first decline since November. A sharp fall in the price markups by wholesalers and retailers pushed down the index.

Producer prices rose 0.9 percent from 12 months ago. That's the smallest 12-month increase since last May.

Wholesale food and energy prices increased, as did the cost of pharmaceuticals. Excluding the volatile categories of food, energy and retailer and wholesaler profit margins, core prices ticked up 0.1 percent.

The data also reflects the impact of aggressive discounting by clothing and shoe stores. Their profit margins fell 9.3 percent, the steepest on record. Gas stations and grocery stores also reduced their markups.

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FDIC sues 16 big banks that set key rate PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer   
Saturday, 15 March 2014 05:28

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has sued 16 big banks that set a key global interest rate, accusing them of fraud and conspiring to keep the rate low to enrich themselves.

The banks, which include Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the U.S., are among the world's largest.

The FDIC says it is seeking to recover losses suffered from the rate manipulation by 10 U.S. banks that failed during the financial crisis and were taken over by the agency. The civil lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan.

The banks rigged the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, from August 2007 to at least mid-2011, the FDIC alleged. The LIBOR affects trillions of dollars in contracts around the world, including mortgages, bonds and consumer loans. A British banking trade group sets the LIBOR every morning after the 16 international banks submit estimates of what it costs them to borrow. The FDIC also sued that trade group, the British Bankers' Association.

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Review: Uneasy first steps with Google Glass PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer   
Saturday, 15 March 2014 05:30

NEW YORK (AP) — Shaped like a lopsided headband, Google Glass is an unassuming piece of technology when you're holding it in your hands. You feel as if you can almost break it, testing its flexibility. Putting it on, though, is another story.

Once you do, this Internet-connected eyewear takes on a life of its own. You become "The Person Wearing Google Glass" and all the assumptions that brings with it —about your wealth, boorishness or curiosity. Such is the fate of early adopters of new technologies, whether it's the Sony Walkman, the first iPod with its conspicuous white earbuds, or the Segway scooter. Google calls the people who wear Glass "explorers," because the device is not yet available to the general public.

With its $1,500 price tag, the device is far from having mass appeal. At the South By Southwest Interactive tech jamboree in Austin this week, I counted fewer than a dozen people wearing it, including technology blogger Robert Scoble, who isn't shy about posting pictures of himself in the shower, red-faced, water running, wearing the device.

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Judge leaves Pandora songwriter royalty unchanged PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 15 March 2014 05:26

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge in New York has left the rate that Internet radio giant Pandora must pay songwriters unchanged at 1.85 percent of revenue for the next two years.

That's according to ASCAP — the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers — which collects royalties for some 500,000 artists and publishers in the U.S.

ASCAP said Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court in New York made the ruling Friday. Court filings show her order and opinion was filed under seal.

ASCAP Chief Executive John LoFrumento said in a statement that the market rate for Internet radio is substantially higher than 1.85 percent and said the ruling demonstrates the need for regulatory reform. ASCAP cited several separate deals as benchmarks, including one between music publishers and Apple Inc. for its iTunes Radio service, as examples.

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