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Jul 27, 2011

Obama to announce fuel economy standards on Friday

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to announce new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks for the model years 2017 through 2025 at an event Friday in Washington. The administration has been in negotiations with automakers on boosting fuel economy. Officials familiar with the talks told The Associated Press this week that recent […]

Jul 14, 2011

Retail sales up slightly in June after May drop

WASHINGTON — Consumers spent more on cars and in big chain stores in June but falling gas prices held back retail sales. The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales rose a modest 0.1 percent last month. That follows a 0.1 percent decrease in May, the first time in 11 months that sales fell. When […]

Jul 8, 2011

Consumers borrowed more for 8th month in May

WASHINGTON — Americans took on more debt in May and used their credit cards more for only the second time in nearly three years, stepping up borrowing just as the economy began to slump and hiring slowed. The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumer borrowing rose $5.1 billion in April. That following a revised gain […]

Jul 8, 2011

Wholesale inventories up in May but sales decline

WASHINGTON — Wholesale companies added to their stockpiles for a 17th straight month in May but their sales declined for only the second time in the past 11 months, providing further evidence of the U.S. economy’s slowdown in the spring. The Commerce Department says wholesale inventories rose 1.8 percent in May, the biggest gain since […]

Jul 7, 2011

U.S. retailers post strong June sales

NEW YORK — Colossal sales lured consumers into stores last month, but what’s going to keep them shopping during the slow economic recovery is anyone’s guess. Consumers who were enticed by warmer weather and deep discounts of up to 80 percent on summer merchandise helped many retailers including Target and Costco deliver robust revenue gains […]

Jul 6, 2011

U.S. service sector grew in June, but at slower pace

WASHINGTON — The U.S. service sector, which employs nearly 90 percent of America’s work force, expanded for a 19th consecutive month in June. But growth slowed from May, a sign that the economy remains sluggish. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index for service companies dipped 53.3 in June from 54.6 in […]

Jun 29, 2011

Fed sets 21-cent cap on retailer debit swipe fees

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is poised to limit the fees that banks can charge retailers for swiping debit cards to 21 cents, a higher cap than initially proposed. Banks succeeded in convincing the Fed that its initial cap of 12 cents was too low after six-month lobbying blitz. They currently charge retailers an average […]

Jun 24, 2011

Economy grew slightly in first quarter

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy expanded a little faster at the beginning of the year than previously estimated. But the pace was still anemic and economists don’t see that changing until later this year. The Commerce Department on Friday said the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the January-March quarter. That’s […]

Jun 15, 2011

Late credit card payments are dropping

NEW YORK — Late payments on credit cards have dropped to rates seen before the Great Recession, and defaults are also heading close to normal levels, reports from the nation’s top six issuers show. A series of regulatory filings on Wednesday showed that May payment rates for most of the biggest card issuers were down […]

Jun 8, 2011

Senate showdown over limiting debit card fees

WASHINGTON — Consumers are caught in the middle of a fight between financial institutions and merchants as the Senate approaches a showdown vote over whether to block the Federal Reserve from capping fees that stores pay banks every time a shopper swipes a debit card. The vote, scheduled for Wednesday, is the climax of a […]

Jun 7, 2011

Consumers borrowed more for 7th straight month

WASHINGTON — Americans borrowed more money in April for the seventh straight month, but they cut back on using their credit cards. The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose by nearly $7.2 billion, fueled by greater demand for school and auto loans. A category that measures credit card use fell for the second time in […]

Jun 7, 2011

Analysis: Economic stress at 2-year low

The nation’s economic stress fell to a two-year low in April, thanks to the strongest private-sector hiring in five years and a dip in bankruptcy filings, according to The Associated Press’ monthly analysis. The improved picture for jobs and bankruptcy filings offset a slight rise in foreclosures. The easing of stress was felt most in […]

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