Financial
S&P takes away European Union's AAA credit rating PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 20 December 2013 07:20

PARIS (AP) — The Standard & Poor's rating agency says it has downgraded the European Union's credit rating, stripping it of the highest grade of AAA.

The agency said Friday that a bitter battle over the EU budget and worsening creditworthiness of its members are behind the decision to downgrade the bloc's long-term issuer credit rating to AA+. The outlook is stable.

A downgrade can sometimes make it more expensive to borrow money on bond markets. But a rating of AA+ is still considered very solid, so the new rating is likely to have little more than symbolic effect.

The EU borrows money to lend to member states, other countries and some programs. S&P said loans to Ireland and Portugal — which received bailouts — represent 80 percent of the EU's outstanding loans.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Target: 40M accounts may be involved in breach PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:25

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target says about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach.

The chain said Thursday that the accounts may have been impacted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

The Minneapolis company said it immediately told authorities and financial institutions once it became aware of the breach and that it is teaming with a third-party forensics firm to investigate the matter.

Target Corp. said that customers who made purchases at its U.S. stores during the impacted period and suspected unauthorized activity should call them at 866-852-8680.

Target has 1,797 U.S. stores and 124 in Canada.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Pennsylvania gas drilling decision leaves future uncertain PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARC LEVY, Associated Press MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press   
Friday, 20 December 2013 07:05

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The energy industry and policy makers in Pennsylvania, the heart of the nation's gas drilling boom, are thinking about their next moves after the state's highest court threw out significant portions of a law that limited the power of cities and counties to regulate the industry.

The state Supreme Court voted 4-2 on Thursday to strike down portions of a 2012 law that had been crafted by Gov. Tom Corbett and his industry-friendly allies in the Legislature.

Republican leaders in the General Assembly said the decision raised more questions than it answered and could damage the growing industry. They said they were not sure, for example, what the ruling would mean for the millions in impact fees being collected under the law.

Pennsylvania has over the past five years seen a boom in drilling and related industries rushing to exploit the deposits in the rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which lies deep underneath several Eastern states.

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Honda tops insurance industry safety list PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:15

Honda Motor Co. has topped the insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Thursday gave 39 vehicles top safety ratings for 2014. That is dramatically fewer than the 130 on the list last year because vehicles now must meet tougher standards.

For the first time, the vehicles need top crash test scores and a good front crash prevention system — such as warning systems or automatic braking — to get its highest designation. Vehicles are now ranked as either a "Top Safety Pick" or "Top Safety Pick +" if they meet the front crash protection criteria as well.

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