Warning labels dropped
The U.S. government is abandoning a legal battle to require that cigarette packs carry a set of large and often macabre warning labels depicting the dangers of smoking and encouraging smokers to quit. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration will create labels to replace those that included images of diseased lungs and the sewn-up corpse of a smoker, according to a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder.
Deposit grab rejected
Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people's bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, with not a single vote in favor. The rejection leaves Cyprus' $7.5 billion bailout in question. Without external funds, the country's banks face collapse and the government could go bankrupt.
Housing starts rise
The Commerce Department said builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That’s up from 910,000 in January but behind December’s rate of 982,000. Building permits increased 4.6 percent to 946,000.
Europe worries investors
Stocks edged lower on Wall Street as investors fretted about the latest chapter in Europe’s debt saga. U.S. stocks started the day higher after the government reported that U.S. builders started construction on more houses.
An annual survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found 28 percent of participants questioned in January were not at all confident that they’ll be able to afford a comfortable retirement. Another 21 percent were not too confident. About 13 percent were very confident, and 38 percent somewhat confident.
Bank to pay $730 million
Citigroup has agreed to pay $730 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed investors were misled by the bank’s disclosures when they purchased its debt and preferred stock. Citigroup Inc. denied the allegations and said it agreed to the settlement so it could get rid of further expenses and uncertainties that come with drawn-out litigation.
Revealing yoga pants recalled
Lululemon has recalled its popular black yoga pants after it found that the sheer material used was revealing too much of its loyal customers. The company is offering full refunds or exchanges for the pants, which account for about 17 percent of all women’s pants in its stores.
The Federal Trade Commission said Neiman Marcus and two other retailers have agreed to settle charges that they claimed certain products were made of “faux” fur when they actually contained real fur. Under the proposed settlement, the retailers would be prohibited from violating the laws for 20 years.
Big Boeing buy
European discount airline Ryanair announced it will buy 175 of Boeing’s popular 737 jets, the largest order ever placed by a European carrier. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the deal will allow his airline to expand in markets such as Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and Scandinavia.
Hostess sale approved
A bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Twinkies to a pair of investment firms, one of which has said it hopes to have the cakes back on shelves by summer. Hostess Brands Inc. is selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other brands to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million.