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Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm •  Published: November 24, 2014
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Wish granted: Same day delivery for the holidays

NEW YORK (AP) — A procrastinator's holiday wish come true: Presents ordered at the last minute can now show up under the Christmas tree that same day.

Amazon, Target, Macy's and other retailers are offering speedier delivery, including overnight and same-day options that will continue even past the holidays.

The focus on faster shipping is one way retailers are catering to shoppers who've become increasingly finicky and impatient. Since the recession, it's not enough to get lower prices; they want the deepest discounts. And when it comes to ordering online, orders need to be shipped fast.

Quick delivery is important for retailers as they head into the winter holiday shopping season, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual sales. U.S. shoppers are expected to spend $61 billion online in November and December, according to research firm comScore.

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Do you need to break the bank to get a good phone?

NEW YORK (AP) — It might seem as though everyone has an iPhone or Galaxy smartphone. But many customers are eschewing the best cameras and screens — and their top-end price tags — and choosing models that can get the job done at less than a third of the cost.

Sales of high-end Samsung and Apple phones remain robust, but demand for budget phones is growing. About a third of the smartphones sold in the U.S. between July and September cost less than $200, up from 18 percent a year ago, according to tech research firm IDC. A top-end phone costs $600 to $700 at full price, before the subsidies some phone companies offer in exchange for committing to two-year service contracts.

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Japan's young fret as unexpected recession hits

TOKYO (AP) — When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to Japan's surprise recession by delaying a sales-tax increase, it was a cause for worry, not celebration, for many young Japanese. This generation, barely aware of their country's economic heyday, frets that putting off tough decisions now could make the future even worse.

Despite Abe's unprecedented stimulus efforts — almost everything short of dropping money from helicopters — Japan has slipped into recession less than two years after the last one. With the country's debt rising, population aging and job security fading, young people in particular wonder when, and if, Japan will bounce back.

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Automakers aim to drive away car computer hackers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Against the team of hackers, the poor car stood no chance.

Meticulously overwhelming its computer networks, the hackers showed that — given time — they would be able to pop the trunk and start the windshield wipers, cut the brakes or lock them up, and even kill the engine.

Their motives were not malicious. These hackers worked on behalf of the U.S. military, which along with the auto industry is scrambling to fortify the cyber defenses of commercially available cars before criminals and even terrorists penetrate them.

These days, when Chris Valasek isn't working his day job for a computer security firm, he's seeing how Bluetooth might offer an entry point.

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ECB official calls for gov't action to help growth

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A member of the European Central Bank's rate-setting council has said monetary policy cannot boost long-term growth and called for reforms by governments to make the weak economy more investment-friendly.

The remarks come as ECB officials weigh whether to launch more stimulus measures to pull the 18 countries that share the euro out of an extended period of sluggish growth and high unemployment. The ECB is the currency union's chief monetary authority.

Jens Weidmann said in the text of a speech in Madrid on Monday that low interest rates and stimulus measures can boost short-term demand but that central bank action "cannot permanently boost growth prospects."

Weidmann, who also heads Germany's Bundesbank central bank, said that long-term growth depended on countries' willingness to lower barriers to investment by streamlining bureaucracy and rules on hiring and firing.

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