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December Sales Gain Is Nominal 0.1 Percent

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) — Retail sales rose 0.1 percent from November to December, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. Retail sales, including food service sales, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for prices rose to $400.6 billion on sales that were 6.5 percent higher than December 2010, the bureau said in a release. Retail […]

Italy, Others, Face Rating Downgrades

LONDON, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Credit assessment firm Fitch Ratings said Italy’s finances were currently the biggest threat to the euro and that Greece exiting the eurozone was an option. At a conference in London, the head of Fitch’s global sovereign ratings division, David Riley, said Italy lacked a “credible firewall,” to protect the euro […]

Zero Tax Is Normal For Many Corporations

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Nearly 70 percent of U.S. corporations were organized as non-taxable businesses as of 2008, IRS records show. The percentage jumped significantly since 1986 when 24 percent of corporations used the “pass-through” tax structure, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. By 2008, 69 percent of businesses were set up to pass […]

Report: Mafia Flourishing In Hard Times

ROME, Jan. 10 (UPI) — A report by Italy’s largest business trade group, Confesercenti, says the Mafia is the country’s largest business and it’s biggest bank. The report, titled SOS Enterprise, says the Mafia has $83 billion in liquidity, ANSA reported Tuesday. The report by the trade group that represents 270,000 businesses says loan sharking […]

Mortgage Activity Rises

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) — The Mortgage Bankers Association said U.S. mortgage activity rose in the week ending Friday, despite slightly higher interest rates on long-term loans. Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages increased from 4.07 percent to 4.11 percent with points falling from 0.53 from 0.41. Rates for 15-year, fixed-rate contracts rose from […]

Hostess To Keep Baking And Restructure

IRVING, Texas, Jan. 11 (UPI) — U.S. baking giant Hostess Brands Inc. said it had secured funding to maintain operations while going through bankruptcy proceedings. In court documents, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread said it had $75 million in commitments from lenders to keep operating during its second restructuring in recent years, The […]

New Jobs Do Not Erase All Worries

CHICAGO, Jan. 9 (UPI) — U.S. economists are saying that as the job market shows signs of recovery, there are issues beyond the jobless rate that will take years to resolve. The first concern is the pace of the recovery itself. It has been more than two years since the so-called Great Recession ended in […]

Online Ads For Spirits Proliferate

BALTIMORE, Jan. 9 (UPI) — The director of an agency in Maryland that monitors alcohol marketing said the Internet is a wide-open playground for marketing booze to kids. “We tried to get a sense of everything the companies are doing on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and iPhone apps and it’s amazing how much they’re doing,” […]

Industry Study Warns Of Budget Cut Effects

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 10 (UPI) — A U.S. defense industry task force report warns of a possible loss of industry innovation and capabilities because of impending defense budget cuts. Drastic cuts by the Department of Defense would lead to the loss of skilled workers and less investment in research and development, it said. “The findings […]

Hybrids Are Here: Customers, Not So Much

DETROIT, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Alternative fuel systems for cars are on display at the Detroit auto show, but analysts said the segment lacks one vital ingredient — customers. Ford Motor Co., BMW, Volkswagen, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes, Chrysler, Volvo and others all have electric plug-in or hybrid vehicles on display at the North America […]

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