Financial
AP Exclusive: Man said to create bitcoin denies it PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer   
Friday, 07 March 2014 07:19

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto said Thursday that he is not the creator of bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world's most popular digital currency came to be.

The denial came after Newsweek published a 4,500-word cover story claiming Nakamoto is the person who wrote the computer code underpinnings of bitcoin.

In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Nakamoto, 64, denied he had anything to do with it and said he had never heard of bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago.

Nakamoto acknowledged that many of the details in Newsweek's report are correct, including that he once worked for a defense contractor, and that his given name at birth was Satoshi. But he strongly disputed the magazine's assertion that he is "the face behind bitcoin."

"I got nothing to do with it," he said, repeatedly.

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Stock and housing gains put U.S. net worth at record PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 14:35

WASHINGTON (AP) — A surging stock market and rebounding home prices boosted Americans' wealth to a record in the final three months of last year, though both trends have slowed so far in 2014.

Household net worth jumped nearly $3 trillion during last year's fourth quarter to $80.7 trillion. Stock and mutual fund portfolios gained nearly $1.7 trillion, or 9 percent, according to a Thursday report by the Federal Reserve.

The value of Americans' homes rose just over $400 billion, a 2 percent gain. And checking account balances, pensions plan assets and retirement savings, such as 401(k)s, also increased.

Strong wealth gains tend to trigger more consumer spending, a critical fuel for economic growth. Higher household net worth is one reason economists have forecast that the U.S. economy will accelerate later this year.

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Chevron pizza 'scandal' isn't one in small town PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press   
Friday, 07 March 2014 07:12

BOBTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Critics are raging after an energy giant offered pizza coupons to a community near a natural gas well that exploded last month, killing a worker.

News stories, TV shows and blogs — many sarcastic or outright scornful — spread the word far and wide. "Shame on you," one person wrote about the offer by Chevron Corp. "How insulting!" said another. Comedy Central's satirical "The Colbert Report" skewered it.

But the 750 or so residents of the hamlet of Bobtown? Not one has signed an online petition demanding an apology for the pizza offer. In fact, during a recent visit, The Associated Press found the talk of the town is more the furious response by outsiders.

"We feel it was something outside groups generated," said Pete Novak, a co-director of the Polish American Club, a local gathering spot. None of the patrons has voiced outrage, he said, and residents laughed about how people who have never set foot in Bobtown claim to speak for its citizens.

Several people noted that Chevron's pizza offer was made to apologize for traffic after the fire, not to downplay the loss of life.

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Kroger's profit tops Wall Street expectations PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:51

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger reported a better-than-expected profit for its fourth quarter Thursday as the nation's largest supermarket operator saw a key sales figure rise.

The Cincinnati-based company, which also operates Ralphs and Fry's, has fared better than its peers in adapting to a shifting supermarket landscape that is facing intensifying competition. In particular, people are getting their groceries from a wider variety of places, including big-box retailers like Target, specialty chains like Whole Foods, drugstores and dollar stores.

To keep pace, Kroger has adapted its store formats, developing both larger and smaller locations to compete in different segments of the market. It's also trying to improve the in-store experience, whether it's by expanding specialty food sections or shortening wait times at check-out.

For the period ending Feb. 1, Kroger Co. said sales at established locations rose 4.3 percent, excluding fuel.

By comparison, Safeway last month said the figure rose 1.6 percent in its latest quarter. Safeway, based in Pleasanton, Calif., has also said it's in talks to put itself up for sale amid ongoing consolidation in the industry.

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