Fed stressed during meeting need to prevent future bubbles
At their March meeting, Federal Reserve officials stressed the need to make sure record-low interest rates don’t feed new speculative bubbles in stocks or other assets.
At the same time, some officials said the Fed’s pledge to keep rates low for an "extended period" doesn’t mean a fixed period of time. Rather, it depends on the strength of the economy, according to minutes of the closed-door meeting released Tuesday. Many analysts have taken the pledge to mean rates would stay at record lows for roughly six months to help underpin the recovery.
The Fed officials argued that the pledge won’t stop the Fed from boosting rates if the economy showed signs of picking up substantially or if inflation took off. On the other hand, the pledge "could last for some time" if the economy took a turn for the worse.
Wynn delivers designs for Philadelphia casino project
Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn says he’s delivered renderings of a proposed Philadelphia casino project to state regulators.
Wynn visited Philadelphia on Monday to meet with Mayor Michael Nutter about the stalled Foxwoods riverfront casino project he hopes to rescue.
Renderings for the project are due to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on April 26, but Wynn told The Philadelphia Inquirer he delivered them Monday.
In February, Wynn offered to take over the embattled project from a group of local investors and the Connecticut Indian tribe that owns the Foxwoods Casino there. Regulators still must approve the deal.
Greece’s borrowing costs rise on report of bid to alter deal
Greece’s borrowing costs shot up Tuesday following a report, later denied, that Athens was seeking to revise a deal hammered out last month that would provide a European and International Monetary Fund rescue to prevent a default.
Markets have so far appeared unconvinced that the bailout plan, which would provide Greece with bilateral loans from euro-zone countries and the IMF, would be sufficient to contain the country’s debt crisis.
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou vehemently denied a report that Athens was seeking to re-negotiate the rescue plan to avoid IMF participation.
"There was never any action by our country to change the terms of the recent agreement," Papaconstantinou said in a statement Tuesday.
Greek borrowing costs shot up in the wake of the report, sending the interest rate gap, or spread, between Greek 10-year bonds and equivalent German issues surging to 406 basis points, or 4.06 percentage points, Tuesday afternoon from about 3.4 percentage points in the morning.
Official says more Toyota safety glitches wouldn’t surprise him
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday he wouldn’t be surprised if a review of documents from Toyota Motor Corp. uncovered additional safety lapses at the Japanese automaker.
LaHood said Toyota was "safety deaf" and said the Japanese automaker made a "huge mistake" by not disclosing safety problems with gasoline pedals on some of its most popular models sooner. A day earlier, the Department of Transportation charged that Toyota failed to alert regulators to its safety problems fast enough and announced it would face a record $16.4 million fine.
Documents from the automaker show that Toyota knew of the problem with the sticking gasoline pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January, LaHood said on Monday. The sticking pedals involved 2.3 million vehicles.
AOL will sell off or shut down Bebo social networking site
Struggling Internet company AOL Inc. plans to sell or shut down the online community Bebo nearly two years after buying it for $850 million in an expansion of its social-networking ambitions.
In an e-mail to employees Tuesday, Jon Brod, who runs AOL’s startup acquisition and investment unit, AOL Ventures, said Bebo would need a "significant investment" to remain competitive.
Bebo’s audience has been slipping in the United States. ComScore Inc. reported that Bebo had 5.1 million U.S. users in February, down from 5.8 million a year earlier and a sliver of the 210 million that Facebook has.
Brod said AOL will look for potential buyers and plans to finish a strategic evaluation by the end of May. AOL paid $850 million in cash for San Francisco-based Bebo in May 2008.
IPads unlikely to cause fliers security-check problems
Apple’s iPad tablet is friendlier than a traditional laptop when it comes to airport security.
The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that in general people should not need to remove iPads from bags. That’s because they are relatively small and people who carry them often don’t have bulky accessories like plugs and external drives that clutter the image when computer bags are screened.
Screeners may still ask people to remove iPads if they can’t get a clear image of the device.
Apple Inc. sold more than 300,000 iPads on Saturday, the first day the device went on sale in stores.
The iPad is not a personal computer, but it does let users send e-mail, watch movies and surf the Internet.
Renault, Nissan, Daimler will unveil research, parts alliance
Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. will unveil a wide-ranging three-way alliance with German automaker Daimler AG today aimed at bolstering their offerings in small, energy efficient vehicles.
The parts-sharing and research alliance with German automaker Daimler AG will be announced at a joint news conference in Brussels, two officials close to Renault told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The partnership will also see the companies exchange small stakes of around 3 percent, the officials said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been publicly announced.