AP Business NewsBrief at 11:40 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Retailers report strong January salesNEW YORK (AP) _ The devil is in the deals. The nation's consumers shopped the winter clearance racks in January, resulting in strong sales during the month for a diverse group of retailers. But analysts expect shoppers to pull back as the deals dry up and Americans digest rising gas prices and a 2 percent payroll tax hike that started in January.
US unemployment aid applications decline to 366KWASHINGTON (AP) _ Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies continue to hire at a modest but steady pace. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000.
Weak earnings outweigh jobs news; stocks slideNEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks slumped on Wall Street Thursday, suggesting that the rally which has pushed indexes close to record levels may have run its course. A decline in applications for unemployment benefits failed to stem the decline. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 95 points at 13,890 as of 11:13 a.m. The Standard and Poor's 500 fell nine points to 1,502 and the Nasdaq composite dropped 23 points to 3,144.
New England readies for major snow stormBOSTON (AP) _ New England is bracing for a major winter storm expected to dump up to 2 feet of snow in some places from Friday into Saturday. The National Weather Service in Taunton says most of southern New England could get between 18 and 24 inches of snow starting Friday morning and continuing into Saturday afternoon. The Cape could get a little less, although forecast totals varied widely.
US productivity fell at 2 percent rateWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. worker productivity shrank in the final three months of 2012 although the decline was caused by temporary factors. Productivity contracted at an annual rate of 2 percent in the October-December quarter, the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2011, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Productivity had risen at a 3.2 percent rate in the July-September quarter.
Sprint posts big 4Q loss, revenue risesNEW YORK (AP) _ Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third largest wireless carrier, on Thursday said it lost $1.3 billion in its fourth quarter, about the same as a year ago, as it revamped its network for a comeback versus bigger competitors. The company's focus, and that of its investors, is on its long-term turnaround efforts rather than on short-term results. Sprint is selling 70 percent of itself to Japanese carrier Softbank Corp. for $20 billion. That deal is expected to close this summer, and provide long-ailing Sprint with a much-needed infusion of capital.
Humbled Toyota rolls out new Tundra pickupDETROIT (AP) _ Back in 2007, Toyota trumpeted its bulked-up Tundra as a game-changer that would cut into Detroit's dominance of the U.S. pickup truck market. "The truck that's changing it all," was the tagline from an ad that featured the beefy Tundra pulling a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep ramp.
ECB's Draghi assessing impact of strong euroBERLIN (AP) _ European Central Bank president Mario Draghi pledged Thursday to keep a close eye on the economic impact of the rise of the euro, a move that surprised many in the markets and sent Europe's single currency skidding lower. Draghi said the recent appreciation of the euro was a sign of rising confidence in the region but he acknowledged that it could weaken economic growth.
New York expanding nation's biggest transit hubNEW YORK (AP) _ Sixteen stories below Grand Central Terminal, an army of workers is blasting through bedrock to create a new commuter rail concourse with more floor space than New Orleans' Superdome, just one of three audacious projects going on beneath New York City's streets to expand what's already the nation's biggest mass transit system. But even with blasting and machinery grinding through the rock day and night, most New Yorkers are blithely unaware of the construction or the eerie underworld that includes a massive, eight-story cavern, miles of tunnels and watery, gravel-filled pits.
Target's key Jan. revenue metric tops Wall StreetMINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Discount retailer Target Corp. said Thursday that a key revenue measure rose 3.1 percent in January as shoppers bought holiday clearance merchandise. The gain topped Wall Street expectations, and Target shares edged up 31 cents to $63 in premarket trading.
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