Business update: Stocks skid on fears of slowdown
Stocks and interest rates tumbled today after signs of slowing economies around the world spooked traders. The Dow Jones industrial average fell about 270 points in afternoon trading to drop below 10,000 for the first time since June 10. The Dow and other major indexes each lost more than 2 percent. Stocks began the day by following Asian and European markets lower. Asian markets fell after an index that forecasts economic activity for China was revised lower. And then European indexes fell sharply after Greek workers walked off the job to protest steep budget cuts.
Mine bill to crack down on repeat violators: Democratic lawmakers, seeking to prevent another mine disaster like the April explosion that killed 29 workers in West Virginia, proposed sweeping new legislation today that would make it easier to shut down mines with poor safety records. The bill — to be introduced in the House this week — would also boost penalties for serious violations, grant mine regulators the power to subpoena documents and testimony, and offer greater protection to whistleblowers who report safety problems.
US auto sales seen slowing with recovery in doubt: When it comes to car shopping, Americans are tapping the brakes. Forecasters expect U.S. sales of cars and light trucks to slow for June after months of improvement. It’s another sign that people are beginning to doubt the economic recovery with unemployment still high. “The two big issues with consumers right now are employment growth and income growth, and they’re not seeing much of either,” said George Pipas, Ford Motor Co.’s top sales analyst.
Home prices rise 0.8 pct. in April from March: Home prices in April rose for the first time in seven months as government tax credits bolstered the housing market. But the rebound may be short-lived now that the incentives have expired. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released today posted an 0.8 percent gain. It had fallen in each of the past six months. Eighteen of 20 cities showed price increases in April from March.
Starbucks expanding recycling program with coffee cups in Chicago: Starbucks is finding new ways to use the 3 billion paper cups its customers use each year, even in cities where recycling is not popular or mandated. This fall, it will send cups used at its Chicago stores to Green Bay, where a Georgia Pacific paper mill will turn them into Starbucks napkins. The effort is a major push by Starbucks to create a commercial market for its used cups, which include 1 billion plastic cups for cold drinks.
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