Retail sales rebound in March
Retail sales rebound in March WASHINGTON – Shoppers got their groove back in March, sending sales at the nation’s retailers up by 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported. The rebound provides further evidence that the economy snapped out of an end-of-year funk and was chugging along at a decent clip in the recently ended January-to-March quarter.Some pay for attending immigration marches: CHICAGO – Six employees at a seafood restaurant in Houston were fired after skipping work to take part in a pro-immigration march. In Detroit, 15 immigrant women lost their jobs as meat cutters after attending a similar protest. And several high school students near Tampa, Fla., were suspended for walking out of class to participate in a rally. Now, some rally organizers are telling students and workers not to take the risk.Ford announces plant closures: DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. said it is closing assembly plants in Norfolk, Va. and St. Paul, Minn. – part of an ongoing restructuring to restore profits at its North American business. The plants employ a total of 4,300 hourly and salaried workers.GE reports 9 percent rise in profits on strong orders: STAMFORD – General Electric Co. says its first-quarter profit rose 9 percent as strong sales of aircraft engines, locomotives, medical equipment and financial services offset weaknesses in energy and its NBC television network.Skilling struggles to hold temper on stand: HOUSTON – Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling strives to hold his temper at being pegged a liar and a crook by federal prosecutors, telling jurors in his fraud and conspiracy trial that he “bled Enron blue” and was devastated that the company he cherished is a poster child for scandal.