April 4, 2012 in City

Factory orders rise in February

 

WASHINGTON – Businesses ordered more machinery and equipment from U.S. factories in February, a signal that many are investing in their companies despite the expiration of a tax credit.

Orders to U.S. factories increased 1.3 percent in February, the Commerce Department said. That offset a similar decline in January.

Demand for so-called core capital goods, a gauge of business investment plans, rose 1.7 percent. That was better than the government’s preliminary estimate last week and followed a steep drop in January.

U.S. factory orders have been steadily rising since the recession ended nearly three years ago. Orders totaled $468.4 billion in February, just 3.4 percent below the previous peak hit in 2008.

Facebook returns fire, sues Yahoo

NEW YORK – Facebook is stepping up its patent dispute with Yahoo by filing its own lawsuit against the struggling Internet icon.

Facebook’s lawsuit Tuesday came just weeks after Yahoo Inc. claimed that Facebook violated 10 patents covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking. Facebook denied Yahoo’s allegations and accused Yahoo of violating 10 of its patents covering issues such as photo tagging, advertising and online recommendations.

Groupon stock hits lowest point

NEW YORK – Groupon’s stock has closed at its lowest level ever amid growing scrutiny over its business just five months after it went public.

Shares of Groupon Inc. closed at $15.02 on Tuesday. That’s the lowest since the company went public in November, when its initial public offering of stock priced at $20 a share.

The Chicago-based company is facing a shareholder lawsuit and a possible review by federal regulators. It revised its fourth-quarter earnings on Friday, lowering its reported revenue by 3 percent and widening its losses. Groupon said it hadn’t set enough money aside for refunds.

Foreclosures to be reviewed

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve says Morgan Stanley will review foreclosures carried out by its old mortgage subsidiary and reimburse any homeowners who were improperly forced out of their homes.

The Fed says it has settled with Morgan Stanley to “address a pattern of misconduct and negligence” at its former mortgage-loan unit, Saxon Mortgage Services Inc.

Morgan Stanley sold a substantial portion of its holdings of Saxon to Ocwen Financial Corp., and it has closed other parts of its residential mortgage servicing business.

Allegiant to charge for carry-ons

LOS ANGELES – Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is set to become the second major airline in the U.S. to charge passengers a fee to bring carry-on luggage into a plane.

Allegiant, a low-cost airline that flies out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and several Florida cities, is about to introduce a fee of up to $35 per bag that would take effect this morning.

Airline President Andrew Levy announced the new fee in an email to employees Friday, saying the changes are part of “an ongoing effort to develop an innovative, new approach to travel.”

AT&T contract expires Saturday

NEW YORK – Union contracts for 40,000 AT&T workers expire at midnight Saturday, putting the company at risk of a strike.

The workers are on the local-phone and long-haul data side of the business and located mainly in the Midwest and California.

AT&T and the Communications Workers of America say negotiations are continuing.

AT&T has 256,000 employees, slightly more than half of whom are unionized. That makes it the country’s largest private employer of union labor.

At issue in the negotiations are job protection clauses and health care premiums and co-payments. AT&T says it wants employees to shoulder more of their growing health care costs.

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