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Aug 30, 2011

Consumers gloomy but their spending says otherwise

WASHINGTON — Economists have advice for anyone worried that consumers are too fearful to keep spending: Look at what they’re doing, not what they’re saying. A survey of consumer confidence shows that Americans were spooked early this month by the standoff over the debt ceiling, a downgrade of U.S. long-term debt and a swoon in […]

Aug 30, 2011

Consumer confidence drops almost 15 pts in August

NEW YORK — A private research group says that consumers’ confidence in the economy in August dropped almost 15 points to its lowest level since April 2009 as worries about the economy fueled the wildest stock market swings since the financial meltdown in 2008. The Conference Board says Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index dropped […]

Aug 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene: a mixed bag for retailers

NEW YORK — Hurricane Irene’s impact on retailers is similar to its effect on various states. Some got hit hard. Some didn’t get hit at all. And although there are billions of dollars in losses, it will take time to fully assess the damage. Home-improvement retailers, drugstores and grocers fared well as people from the Carolinas and […]

Aug 18, 2011

Stocks plummet on worries about slower global economy

NEW YORK — Stocks are tumbling around the world on more signs of economic weakness. In the U.S., the government says more people filed for unemployment benefits last week than were expected. And there are signs that inflation is rising — consumers paid more last month for gasoline, food and clothes. The Dow Jones industrial […]

Aug 16, 2011

Wal-Mart, Home Depot boost profit outlooks

NEW YORK — Consumers may not be confident, but the stores that sell to them certainly seem to be. Wal-Mart and Home Depot, two of the nation’s largest retailers and bellwethers of the U.S. economy, on Tuesday joined a string of other merchants that have boosted their profit outlooks for the year despite a flow […]

Aug 11, 2011

Maryland consumers, business owners gear up for tax-free shopping week

When it comes to money, two things are certain: shoppers like saving it and business owners like making it. Anything that makes it easier to reach those goals simultaneously is good to go — at least according to consumers and retailers. In the days leading up to the state’s tax-free shopping week, which runs Aug. […]

Aug 10, 2011

Fed plan good for borrowers, not retirees

WASHINGTON  — The Federal Reserve’s plan to keep interest rates super-low for at least two more years is great news for mortgage refinancers and other borrowers. For retirees and others who need interest income? Not so great. Nor will low rates likely revive a depressed home market, energize a weak economy or reassure frightened consumers. […]

Aug 9, 2011

Newsstand sales of U.S. magazines down 9 percent

A new report says sales of U.S. magazines at newsstands and other retail outlets fell 9 percent in the first six months of the year in a sign of readers trimming discretionary spending. Although overall circulation was down just 1 percent, the larger drop in the single-copy sales figure is troubling for magazine publishers. That’s […]

Aug 3, 2011

Is economic recovery sliding into stupor?

WASHINGTON — Shoppers won’t shop. Companies won’t hire. The government won’t spend on economic stimulus — it’s cutting instead. And the Federal Reserve is reluctant to do anything more. Without much to invigorate growth, the economy may be in danger of slipping into a stupor like the one Japan has failed to shake off for […]

Aug 2, 2011

Spending drops for first time since Sept. ’09

WASHINGTON— Americans cut their spending in June for the first time in nearly two years after seeing their incomes grow by the smallest amount in nine months. The latest data offered a troubling sign for an economy that is adding few jobs and barely growing. Consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in June, the Commerce Department […]

Aug 2, 2011

U.S. auto industry uneasy after weak July sales

DETROIT — Auto sales were expected to rise only slightly in July, adding to concerns in the industry that Americans are pulling back on car buying. Analysts predicted a small increase in U.S. sales of new cars and trucks. A lack of discounts and lingering shortages of Japanese cars kept many buyers away. Americans also […]

Jul 29, 2011

Economy slowed sharply in first half of year

WASHINGTON — The economy expanded at meager rate of 1.3 percent annual rate in the spring after scarcely growing at all in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Friday. The combined growth for the first six months of the year was the weakest since the recession ended. The government revised […]

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