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Around the Business World

Daily Staff Report

Housing construction posts May increase after three monthly declines: WASHINGTON – Construction of new homes and apartments increase in May after posting three straight months of declines. But analysts caution that construction activity is likely to slide in coming months as the housing industry slows under the impact of rising mortgage rates.Stocks up slightly amid housing uptick: NEW YORK – Wall Street staged a modest rally as solid housing data soothe investors’ concerns about a melting economy and rising interest rates.Oil prices rise: NEW YORK – Crude-oil futures rose on Iran concerns after President Bush warns that nations worldwide will not back down from their demand that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment. Oil’s share of world energy demand will decline over the next quarter century, the Energy Department said, as high prices spur greater use of alternatives such as coal, natural gas and renewable fuels.The number of millionaires worldwide surges in 2005: DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The ranks of the world’s millionaires swelled by more than half a million people last year to 8.7 million, according to a study. Experts credited strong global economic growth as well as solid market performance but said they expected some slowing of those forces in coming years – and thus a slowing in the growth of millionaire echelons.Lego to lay off 1,200 employees in a restructuring move: NEW YORK – Lego Group, whose iconic brand has entertained millions of children for more than 70 years with its construction blocks, will be shedding 1,200 of its work force as part of a major restructuring in an era where kids would rather play with electronic gadgets than with traditional toys. Kroger earnings up: NEW YORK – Kroger Co., the nation’s largest traditional supermarket chain, said its first-quarter profit edged up 4 percent on improved revenue, and the company affirms its full-year profit growth forecast.U.S. beef still banned in Japan: TOKYO – Japanese and U.S. negotiators fail to agree on lifting Japan’s ban on imports of U.S. beef , and will resume negotiations again.Police bypassed subpoenas, got phone data from brokers: WASHINGTON – Federal and state police agencies across the country – as well as some of the country’s most famous corporations – have been gathering Americans’ phone records from private data without subpoenas or warrants that protect civil liberties.Equifax says company laptop with employee information stolen: ATLANTA – Equifax Inc., one of the nation’s three major credit bureaus, said a company laptop containing employee names and Social Security numbers was stolen from an employee who was traveling by train near London.EMC doubling India investment: NEW YORK – U.S. data storage company EMC Corp. plans to double its investment in India to $500 million over the next four years, as part of efforts to boost local sales and expand its Indian research facility, the company’s chairman says.German encourages payment by DaimlerChrysler: BERLIN – A German court has suggested that DaimlerChrysler AG make a payment of about $24 a share to former shareholders of Daimler-Benz AG to settle a case related to its 1998 merger with Chrysler Corp., an official said.Africa’s biodiversity can pay off: MANTADIA NATIONAL PARK, Madagascar – The idea that pristine rain forests can be big business is the focus of a major international symposium on Africa opening in Madagascar, which touts itself as a tourist destination of unmatched natural wonder and is protecting its environmental riches in hopes of gaining long-term benefit for its people.Jewelers nervous about gold prices; customers still buying: DENVER – Although gold prices have fallen a bit, they’re still well above $600 an ounce. The high prices have forced jewelers to accept lower profit margins, raise prices and sometimes tweak their designs even though customers continue to clamor for gold.Vail, Colorado


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