Spending slowly rises
WASHINGTON — Americans increased their spending more slowly in March, suggesting some are worried their paychecks aren't growing fast enough. The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending increased just 0.3 percent last month after a 0.9 percent gain in February. Income grew 0.4 percent following a 0.3 percent gain in February. But after-tax income when adjusted for inflation increased just 0.2 percent in March. The gain followed two months of declines.
Interest rates jump
WASHINGTON — Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction, and rates on three-month bills climbed to their highest level since late February. The Treasury Department auctioned $30 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.095 percent, up from 0.08 percent last week. Another $28 billion in six-month bills sold at a discount rate of 0.145 percent, up from 0.13 percent last week. The three-month rate was the highest since these bills averaged 0.115 percent on Feb. 27. The six-month rate was the highest since these bills averaged 0.15 percent on April 9. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,997.60 while a six-month bill sold for $9,992.67. That equals an annualized rate of 0.096 percent for the three-month bills and 0.147 percent for the six-month bills. Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, was unchanged at 0.18 percent last week and the week before.
WASHINGTON — The American dream of homeownership is at its lowest point in 15 years, the latest evidence of a housing market still far from recovering five years after the housing crash. New figures, released Monday by the Census Bureau, show the rate of U.S. homeownership fell in the first three months of this year to 65.4 percent. That's down from 66.4 percent in the first quarter last year. The last time the rate hit 65.4 percent was in the first quarter of 1997. The rate peaked in the fourth quarter of 2004, during the highflying days of the housing boom.
Sunoco deal is set
NEW YORK — Energy Transfer Partners is buying Sunoco in a $5.3 billion deal that creates one of the more diverse pipeline companies in the country. The acquisition includes nearly 8,000 miles of pipeline, as well as 4,900 gas stations in 24 Eastern states. Those stations will keep the Sunoco brand name and its diamond-and-arrow logo. The deal also includes a refinery business that Sunoco is trying to sell. Energy Transfer is primarily a natural gas pipeline company. Sunoco's pipeline network will allow the Dallas company to expand into moving crude oil and refined petroleum products from the Great Lakes and Northeast to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Sunoco's pipelines have been in high demand recently thanks to a boom in drilling for gas and oil in U.S. shale formations.
Kodak bonuses approved
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has approved Kodak's plan to pay up to $13.5 million in bonuses to retain key managers as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. The Rochester-based company said during a court hearing Monday in New York that turnover has become a serious problem. Kodak proposed the bonuses earlier this month. Judge Allan Gropper approved the plan despite an objection by the U.S. trustee over concerns Kodak hadn't been clear in guaranteeing the money wouldn't go to top management insiders like Chief Executive Antonio Perez. Kodak responded in a court filing that only non-insiders would get the bonuses.
Jobless rate is up
GENEVA — Global unemployment will hit 202 million this year, or 6.1 percent, as debt-driven austerity measures hammer job markets and threaten to drive Europe into recession, the U.N. labor agency predicted Monday. In a gloomy forecast, the International Labor Organization predicted unemployment, which stood at 196 million at the end of 2011, would edge up further in 2013. With 50 million jobs vanished since the 2008-09 global financial crisis, the Geneva-based ILO's report said, “the global employment situation is alarming and shows no signs of recovery in the near future” despite signs of economic growth in some regions.
From wire reports