Fed sees growth
The Federal Reserve said 10 of its 12 regional banking districts reported moderate or modest growth in January and February. In the eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware district, sales of new and used cars increased while many retail stores reported faster sales growth.
EU fines Microsoft
The European Union has fined Microsoft $733 million for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company’s flagship Windows operating system. The EU said the fine was intended to make an example of Microsoft and deter other companies from doing same thing.
Grocer income flat
Village Super Market’s fiscal second-quarter net income was basically flat at $9.1 million as revenue climbed thanks in part to the quick reopening of several stores after Hurricane Sandy. The operator of 29 ShopRite supermarkets, including ones in Atlantic County, cautioned that its sales continue to be pressured by economic softness, increased gas prices and high unemployment.
Employers added 198,000 jobs in February, according to payroll processor ADP. The report suggests that the government’s February jobs report, to be issued Friday, may come in above economists’ forecasts. Analysts expect it will show the economy added 152,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dipped to 7.8 percent from 7.9 percent in January.
Oil, gas prices fall
The price of oil fell 39 cents to $90.43 a barrel after the government reported a big increase in the nation’s stockpile of oil. The average price of a gallon of gas fell for a seventh straight day, to $3.73 a gallon. That’s still up 21 cents from a month ago, but down 3 cents from this time last year.
The Commerce Department said businesses increased their orders for so-called core capital goods 7 percent from December. Total factory orders fell 2 percent in January from December.
Investors withdrew a net $1.13 billion from funds investing in U.S. stocks during the week ending Feb. 27, the Investment Company Institute said. That snapped a seven-week string in which deposits exceeded withdrawals, including $1.09 billion in net deposits during the prior week.
Dell deal defended
The Dell Inc. committee that negotiated the slumping PC maker’s $24.4 billion buyout is standing behind the deal despite the misgivings of major shareholders who believe the price is too low. The directors’ decision to publicly reiterate their rationale for agreeing to the deal currently on the table suggests that they aren’t having second thoughts.
Penney stock sale
One of J.C. Penney’s biggest shareholders confirmed that it’s sold more than 40 percent of its stake. Vornado Realty Trust’s move is perhaps the biggest indicator yet that investors are losing patience with a turnaround strategy that has failed to win over shoppers.
Dorito tacos delay
Taco Ball had announced that customers would be able to buy Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos on Wednesday, a day earlier than planned. But people complained online that their local restaurants didn’t have them yet and they wouldn’t be available until today after all.