AP Business NewsBrief at 12:05 p.m. EDT
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Americans remain confident in AprilNEW YORK (AP) _ Americans' confidence in the economy held steady in April from the previous month despite rising job cuts and falling home values. The Conference Board, a private research group, said on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index is at 69.2, down slightly from a revised 69.5 in March. Economists were expecting a reading of 70, according to a FactSet poll of analysts. The current level is below February's 71.6, which is the highest level it's been in a year.
New wireless subscribers down sharply at AT&TNEW YORK (AP) _ When Verizon Wireless started selling the iPhone, AT&T sounded a defiant note, saying that its customers would remain loyal. A year later, it's clear that the Verizon iPhone has crimped AT&T's stride. Verizon had little problem attracting new customers before it started selling the iPhone. In fact, it was the only wireless carrier that managed to keep up with AT&T's iPhone-fueled growth.
US stocks rise as companies post strong resultsStrong earnings by big U.S. companies are pushing the Dow Jones industrial average higher at midday. The Dow rose as many as 123 points Tuesday morning, led by AT&T and 3M. Both companies posted better than expected earnings. Six of the 30 companies in the Dow were up more than 1.5 percent.
Fitch restores Ford credit to investment gradeDETROIT (AP) _ The Fitch Ratings agency lifted Ford's credit rating from junk status to investment grade Tuesday, a sign that the company's recovery from near collapse is almost complete. But Ford Motor Co. needs another agency, either Standard & Poor's or Moody's, to make the same upgrade before it can get its blue oval logo, factories and other assets out of hock.
China's dream of electric car leadership elusiveBEIJING (AP) _ China's leaders are finding it's a lot tougher to create a world-beating electric car industry than they hoped. In 2009, they announced bold plans to cash in on demand for clean vehicles by making China a global power in electric car manufacturing. They pledged billions of dollars for research and called for annual sales of 500,000 cars by 2015.
Fed likely to keep stance on rates and bond buysWASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Reserve will have plenty to say about the economy Wednesday, when its two-day policy meeting ends with a statement, updated forecasts and Chairman Ben Bernanke's latest news conference. Whether all that information will signal any shift in its outlook or the prospect of further steps to boost the economy is far from clear.
Obama takes on college costs, eyes young votersMORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ Wooing young voters, President Barack Obama is on a blitz to keep the cost of college loans from soaring for millions of students, taking his message to three states strategically important to his re-election bid. By taking on student debt, Obama is speaking to middle-class America and targeting an enormous burden that threatens the economic recovery. Before Obama got his road trip under way, Republican opponent Mitt Romney found a way to steal some thunder from the president's campaign argument: He agreed with it.
US home prices drop for 6th straight monthWASHINGTON (AP) _ Home prices dropped in February in most major U.S. cities for a sixth straight month, a sign that modest sales gains haven't been enough to boost prices. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index shows that prices dropped in February from January in 16 of the 20 cities it tracks.
US new-home sales off 7 percent in MarchWASHINGTON (AP) _ Sales of new homes fell in March by the largest amount in more than a year, indicating that the U.S. housing market remains under strain despite some modest signs of improvement. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that sales dropped 7.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000 units. That followed a 7.3 percent increase in sales in February. This figure was revised up from an initial estimate that February sales had fallen 1.6 percent.
Oil prices mixed; gasoline lower than a year agoNEW YORK (AP) _ Oil prices are mixed as investors weigh strong U.S. corporate earnings with ongoing concern about European debt. Benchmark U.S. crude rose Tuesday by 56 cents to $103.67 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international crudes, fell by 42 cents to $118.29 per barrel in London.
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