Around the business world |

Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Consumer spending slows: WASHINGTON – Consumer spending slowed sharply in May as rising gasoline prices left Americans with less to spend on other items. The Commerce Department said spending rose by just 0.4 percent last month after a 0.7 percent gain in April. Income growth also slowed to an advance of just 0.4 percent last month, reflecting weaker job growth.Mutual funds slump amid interest rate jitters: NEW YORK – U.S. mutual funds slumped in the second quarter as concerns about rising interest rates and economic growth dragged stocks lower both on Wall Street and markets around the globe. Moderate returns, however, were generated by inverse funds designed to capitalize on declining stock prices.Renault, Nissan purchasing part of GM: DETROIT – Automakers Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. are interested in purchasing a significant stake in General Motors Corp. and including the struggling automaker in their alliance, according to a letter sent to GM from billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s investment company. By Ken Thomas.Boeing boss riding high: CHICAGO – First-year CEO results don’t get much better than they’ve been for Jim McNerney at Boeing Co.: a soaring stock price, a stumbling rival and a new airplane that’s an industry darling before it ever leaves the ground. McNerney can’t claim credit for the resurgence of the world’s second-largest airplane maker. But he has done something his two predecessors couldn’t: steering the company clear of ethics controversies that have surrounded it for several years.Auto buyers will get good deals: DETROIT – With inventories growing, market share dropping and sales expected to further slump as the 2006 model year comes to a close, analysts and dealers say anyone who’s in the market for a car is likely to see some good deals. At least for a while. But analysts say that with a dizzying array of incentives out there, buyers have to be careful to get the best deal.EU hammers Mastercard: PARIS – The European Commission has charged MasterCard Inc. with fixing the fees retailers must pay for accepting MasterCard and Maestro branded cards, saying this limits competition between banks who use the service.Cendant selling NEW YORK – Travel and real-estate conglomerate Cendant Corp. is selling its travel services unit that includes to an affiliate of private-equity firm Blackstone Group for $4.3 billion in cash.Silicon stocks turning sticky: SAN FRANCISCO – Silicon Valley’s long-running obsession with stock options is turning into a sordid affair. With each passing week, more firms in high-tech’s heartland have become entangled in internal or government inquiries examining whether company insiders rigged employee stock options to ensure larger windfalls without properly disclosing or accounting for the manipulation.French lawmakers bite Appple: PARIS – French lawmakers gave final approval to government-backed legislation that could force Apple Computer Inc. to make its iPod music player and iTunes online store compatible with rivals’ offerings.World Cup business running high: BERLIN – For World Cup fans who couldn’t make the trip to wave their national flags in packed stadiums or Germany’s streets, emotion runs just high – and low – on hundreds of Web sites, blogs and discussion boards.EMC stocks dive: NEW YORK – Data storage provider EMC Corp. saw its stock dive after announcing a $2.1 billion deal for RSA Security Inc. that represented a hefty premium for the computer authentication provider. Jappan jobless rate drops again: TOKYO – Japan’s jobless rate fell to an eight-year low and its core consumer prices rose for the seventh straight month in May, authorities said, spurring expectations the central bank will soon raise interest rates.China targeting counterfeiting: SHANGHAI – Shanghai began closing down its Xiangyang market, an open-air bazaar famous for cheaply priced counterfeit goods and a symbol of this Chinese city’s failure to crack down on piracy.WTO trade talks dragging: NEW YORK – The World Trade Organization’s top official criticized the world’s leading trading powers, saying their reluctance to negotiate was badly damaging the prospects of a new global commerce treaty.Japanese companies ordered to pay back taxes: TOKYO – Japanese tax authorities ordered Sony and three other major companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes as part of a crackdown on overseas earnings by the central government, which is hunting for more revenue sources and trying to improve corporate transparency. Vail, Colorado

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