Retail sales rise

From our wire services

The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.2 percent in July from June despite a drop in auto sales. "Core" retail sales, which exclude the volatile auto, gas and building supply categories, rose 0.5 percent in July.

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Affordable Internet

Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company, is expanding the number of low-income families that can automatically qualify for its $9.95-per-month Internet access. It's also boosting download speeds on the service to 5 megabytes per second from 3 Mbps to attract more subscribers.

Europe recession

Today official figures are expected to show that economic growth among the 17 countries that use the euro inched up 0.2 percent in the April-June quarter compared with the previous quarter. That would end six straight quarters of a debilitating recession - the longest to afflict the single-currency bloc since its creation in 1999.

Inventories, sales

The Commerce Department said business stockpiles were flat in June compared with May. Inventories had fallen a slightly 0.1 percent in May. Sales rose 0.2 percent in June after a solid 1.1 percent increase in May.

Diet Coke defense

Coca-Cola plans to run its first ad defending the safety of artificial sweeteners today, a move that comes as the company looks to stem declining sales of diet soda. The print ad says that diet drinks can help people manage their weight and stresses the scientific evidence showing the safety of aspartame.

Ackman out

William Ackman has resigned from J.C. Penney's board after an unusually public battle. Ackman had pushed the board to hire former Apple exec Ron Johnson, who was ousted as CEO after 17 months because his radical makeover led to massive losses and sales declines

China tourism

China, one of the most visited countries in the world, has seen sharply fewer tourists this year - with worsening air pollution partly to blame. Numbers of foreign visitors have declined following January's "Airpocalypse," when eye-searing levels of smog soared to new highs.

Hyundai recall

Hyundai is recalling 239,000 Sonata and Azera sedans in cold-weather states because road salt can corrode the rear suspension. The recall affects 215,000 Sonata

midsize sedans from the 2006 to 2010 model years and 24,000 Azera full-size sedans from 2006 to 2011.

Oil up, gas down

The price of oil rose as a government report indicated consumer spending could boost economic growth in the months ahead. Meanwhile, the price of gasoline continued its decline in August, dropping 1 cent overnight to an average of $3.54.

China appliances

Whirlpool is buying a majority stake in Chinese appliance maker Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. for about $552 million. Whirlpool Corp., whose brands include KitchenAid, Maytag and its namesake, said the transaction will help it expand in China.

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