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Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Dell battery recall: Laptop owners are scrambling: DALLAS – Notebook computer owners flooded Dell Inc.’s phone lines and Web site to replace 4.1 million batteries that could cause their machines to overheat and even catch fire. Other notebook makers try to distance themselves from Dell’s problem, although some use the same battery-cell supplier, Sony.Wal-Mart posts first profit decline in a decade: NEW YORK – Wal-Mart posts its first profit decline in a decade as the world’s largest retailer was forced to pay a hefty price for withdrawing from Germany, selling its stores there at a loss to a rival. The company also said sales at its U.S. stores were disappointing as high gas and energy prices hit the pocketbooks of customers.Home sales slow, 28 states see declines: WASHINGTON – The nation’s once-booming housing market slumped even further, with sales declining in 28 states including formerly red-hot Arizona, Florida and California.Home Depot second quarter profits up: ATLANTA – The Home Depot Inc. said its second-quarter profit rose 5.3 percent, it will be reporting same-store sales again and it is investing another $350 million in improving its business as it expects earnings growth for the year to be at the low end of its previous guidance.Insurance company dodges paying Katrina victim: NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge ruled that a Mississippi Gulf Coast couple cannot collect damages from storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina because their Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. policy clearly excluded coverage for flooding.Avis, P&G provide fliers with ‘smile packs’ after loss of carry-ons: CINCINNATI – Travelers stripped of carry-on toiletries because of heightened airport security will find a consolation gift when they pick up Avis Rent A Car vehicles in the nation’s major airports. Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble has donated thousands of “smile packs” with toothpaste, mouthwash and floss that Avis will leave on the front seats. Some U.S. hotel chains also are offering more free toiletries to help soothe travelers.P&G builds a better toothbrush: CINCINNATI – Procter & Gamble is launching a toothpaste 10 years in development and a low-cost rechargeable power toothbrush that focuses more on the hazards of yucky plaque than the appeal of a bright smile.Inflation rises on wholesale level by smallest amount in five months: WASHINGTON – Inflation at the wholesale level edged up by the smallest amount in five months in July as falling food prices helped offset another rise in energy costs.Stocks soar on good news about wholesalle prices: NEW YORK – Relieved investors sent stocks soaring, with the Dow Jones industrials climbing more than 105 points, after the Labor Department reports an unexpected drop in core wholesale prices that reaffirms the Federal Reserve’s stance on interest rates and inflation.Cease-fire eases oil prices: NEW YORK – Oil prices fell as the cease-fire in Lebanon appears to hold up and eases concerns of a supply disruption, and as production partially restarted at BP’s Alaska field.Feds want you to save for retirement – and will help: WASHINGTON – Rich, poor and in between, the nation’s workers are being prodded by the government to save more money for retirement. A batch of incentives are included in the pension-rules law that President Bush will sign Thursday.A new idea to keep textbook costs down – sell ads: NEW YORK – Textbook prices are soaring into the hundreds of dollars, but in some courses this fall, students won’t pay a dime. The catch? When they download a PDF file of more than 100 textbooks from Freeload Press, they will first have to view ads.Airlines counting the cost of latest terrorist threat: LONDON – As the immediate security threat at British airports waned, airlines are beginning to count the multimillion dollar cost of the terrorist alert – and consider who should pay. Several carriers are pointing to the British Airports Authority.China’s economy is slowing, but not much: BEIJING – China’s sizzling economy is slowing but should still expand by 10.4 percent this year, the World Bank said, as newly released statistics suggested measures to prevent runaway growth might be taking effect.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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