Apple tops $600 ahead of new iPad

NEW YORK – Apple Inc.’s stock touched $600 for the first time, the day before the company’s latest iPad goes on sale.

The stock reached $600.01 just after the market opened. It lost those gains and closed down $4.02, or 0.7 percent, at $585.56.

Apple is the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of nearly $555 billion. It topped $500 billion for the first time in late February, a market value peak where few companies have ventured.

Pfizer CEO’s pay triples in first year

TRENTON, N.J. – Pfizer Inc. nearly tripled CEO Ian Read’s compensation in 2011, his first full year as top executive of the world’s largest drugmaker, which has been cutting costs and making other moves to compensate for generic competition hurting sales of top medicines.

Read, 58, received compensation worth a total of $18.12 million in 2011, up from $6.42 million in 2010, according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing Thursday by the maker of Viagra and cholesterol fighter Lipitor.

The total includes a salary of $1.7 million, up 42 percent, stock awards and option awards totaling about $12.5 million, a $3.5 million incentive award and about $319,000 in other compensation. The last category ranges from use of company aircraft and a car and driver to contributions to Read’s retirement savings.

Read, who has spent his entire career at the New York-based drugmaker, became Pfizer’s CEO in December 2010 after running its worldwide pharmaceutical business since 2006. He added the title of board chairman in December 2011.

Foreign Treasury holdings hit record

WASHINGTON – Foreign demand for U.S. Treasury debt rose to a record high in January. China, the largest buyer of Treasury debt, increased its holdings for the first time in six months.

Total foreign holdings rose 0.9 percent in January to $5.05 trillion, the sixth consecutive monthly increase, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

China boosted its holdings 0.7 percent to $1.16 trillion. Japan, the second-largest buyer of Treasury debt, increased its holdings 2 percent to a record $1.08 trillion.

U.S. government debt is considered one of the safest investments. Demand for it has increased as Europe’s debt problems have intensified.

SEC-Citigroup deal given new life

NEW YORK – A federal appeals court said Thursday that a judge likely overstepped his authority when he blocked a $285 million settlement over toxic mortgage securities after concluding that it was bad policy for a regulatory agency to accept a deal that does not include an admission of liability.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan suspended the effect of Judge Jed Rakoff’s decision to turn down the settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission until it can fully study the case. It said there was a “strong likelihood” that Citigroup and the SEC would succeed in overturning Rakoff’s ruling.

In doing so, a three-judge appeals panel noted that Rakoff believed it disserved the public interest for the SEC to let Citigroup settle without admitting liability.

Subaru issues recall for Foresters

DETROIT – Subaru is recalling more than 275,000 Forester SUVs because a rear seat belt may not hold a child seat securely in place.

The recall involves certain Foresters from the 2009 to 2012 model years, according to federal safety regulators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website Thursday that the rear center belt doesn’t meet federal safety standards. The agency says Forester owners might not be able to install child seats properly, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

Subaru of America Inc. said it has no reports of injuries from the problem. It was discovered by the NHTSA in routine testing, the company said.

Dealers will notify owners and begin replacing the belts free of charge starting April 13

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