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Money & Markets

Anbang trumps Marriott with $15B bid for Starwood

NEW YORK - The fight for Starwood Hotels swung back in favor of China's Anbang after the insurance company offered $15 billion in a counterpunch to Marriott International. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which has a tony stable of hotels including the St. Regis New York.

Contracts to buy homes at highest point

WASHINGTON - More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, with purchases surging in the Midwest ahead of the traditional spring buying season.The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.5 percent to 109.1, rebounding ...

Consumer spending posts scant increase

WASHINGTON - U.S. consumers barely increased their spending in February and spent less in January than the government had earlier estimated. The pullback led some analysts to downgrade their expectations for the economy's growth during the January-March quarter.Consumer spending edged up a tiny ...

Household spending, home building fuel US growth

WASHINGTON - Consumer spending and home construction are helping sustain modest U.S. economic growth despite problems caused by a strong dollar, low oil prices and an excess of business stockpiles.The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a 1.4 percent annual rate in the ...

Job totals trail pre-recession levels in 10 US states

WASHINGTON - Ten U.S. states still have not regained all the jobs they lost in the Great Recession, even after six and a half years of recovery, while many more have seen only modest gains.The figures help illustrate the uneven nature of the economic rebound since the Great Recession ended in ...

Asian stocks mostly higher in holiday trading

SEOUL, South Korea - The few Asian stock markets that were trading Friday mostly advanced, with shares in Tokyo and Shanghai up and Seoul stocks slightly lower. Financial markets in Europe, the United States and most of Asia were closed for the Good Friday holiday.Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 ...

Japan’s Abe mulls delaying 2nd tax hike

TOKYO - The scene: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the economy minister and top central banker receiving a lecture from Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz. The message: No matter how bad the debt, Japan's economy is too weak to withstand another tax hike.All is not well in the world's ...

Jury: Gilead owes Merck $200M in damages

The federal jury in a patent trial has ordered drugmaker Gilead Sciences to pay Merck $200 million in damages for infringing on patents for hepatitis C drugs.The award is far below the damages Merck sought, but the trial moves to a new phase Wednesday. The jury, in San Jose, California, then ...

As Yahoo Turns: Shareholder mutiny begins another soap opera

SAN FRANCISCO - Shareholder rebellions at Yahoo are becoming like presidential elections - they are happening every four years.Activist investor Starboard Value launched a widely anticipated mutiny Thursday in a letter announcing its intent to overthrow Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the rest of ...

Shadowy hacking industry may be helping FBI crack an iPhone

NEW YORK - Turns out there's a shadowy global industry devoted to breaking into smartphones and extracting their information. But you've probably never heard of it unless you're a worried parent, a betrayed spouse - or a federal law enforcement agency.Now one of those hacking businesses may ...

VW gets a month for plan on emissions fix

SAN FRANCISCO - Volkswagen and government regulators must present a detailed plan within a month on getting nearly 600,000 diesel cars to comply with clean air laws or risk the possibility of a trial this summer over an emissions cheating scandal, a federal judge said Thursday.Senior U.S. ...

US to consider sharp hike in royalties on coal

BILLINGS, Mont. - Royalty rates on coal extracted from massive strip mines on public lands could increase 50 percent under a pending overhaul of a U.S. government program that critics say contributes to climate change, documents released Thursday show. The royalty hike was contained in an ...

Gas-sipping electrics now ‘fun to drive,’ automakers say

NEW YORK - When Toyota aired a Super Bowl television ad featuring a surprisingly quick Prius gas-electric hybrid eluding police, it marked a turning point for the auto industry.For years, automakers pushed fuel efficiency to sell hybrid and electric vehicles. Now, in an era of cheap gasoline, ...

Will Americans like Blendle, the iTunes for news?

NEW YORK - Americans pay to download music. They pay for TV episodes. Will they pay a few cents for news articles to escape ads and bypass subscription requirements?The news service Blendle launches Wednesday in the U.S. with 20 news outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street ...

Starbucks to offer prepaid cards to boost rewards program

NEW YORK - Starbucks says it will introduce a prepaid card by the end of the year that lets people earn points for its rewards program. The Seattle-based company plans to offer the card through Chase and says people would be able to use it wherever Visa is accepted.It's the latest move by ...

Regulator OK Exelon’s takeover of Pepco

NEW YORK - A Washington, D.C., regulator approved Exelon's nearly $7 billion takeover of rival utility Pepco, but the deal will only go through if Exelon agrees to the regulator's terms.The District of Columbia Public Service Commission said Wednesday that Exelon has 30 days to agree to the way ...

FDA adds boldest warning to most widely used painkillers

WASHINGTON - Federal health regulators will add their strongest warning labels to the most widely prescribed painkillers, part of a multi-pronged government campaign to stem an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday ...

Lumber Liquidators pays $2.5M to settlement

TOANO, Va. - Beleaguered flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators is paying $2.5 million to settle allegations that some of its products violated California's air-safety standards.The penalty announced Tuesday was the latest that Lumber Liquidators has absorbed for formerly selling laminate ...

Jury finds for Merck in drug fight with Gilead

A federal jury in California has ruled in favor of drugmaker Merck & Co. in a high-stakes lawsuit against rival Gilead Sciences Inc. over patents for lucrative new drugs that rapidly cure hepatitis C. Merck accused Gilead of infringing on patents it filed over a decade ago, claiming ...

Twitter marks 10th birthday searching for followers, profits

NEW YORK - Happy birthday, Twitter.The social media site famous for hashtags and a 140-character "tweet" limit turned 10 years old Monday, having evolved from what was originally billed as a "microblogging" site into one of the Internet's most influential means of communication.The world's ...