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News In Brief

PODCAST: Obama goes to Puerto Rico, May wholesale prices up slightly

Katharine Crnko Jun 14, 2011

Here are today’s top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

The government just reported wholesale prices rose slightly in May. But that inflation rate grew at the slowest pace in 10 months. Food prices are lower. Also word today retail sales fell last month for the first time in nearly a year. Car sales leading the decline there because of the Japanese earthquake. Oil’s trading at $97 a barrel this morning.

President Obama said today there could be another global financial crisis if Congress fails to raise the national debt ceiling. Today, he will make the first official U.S. presidential visit to Puerto Rico since President John F. Kennedy.

More than half of the chief executives of large U.S. companies say they expect to spend and hire more over the next six months despite slower economic growth.

Best Buy beat quarterly profit and sales estimates as strong demand for mobile phones, calling plans and tablets offset weakness in its TV business, and its shares rose 6 percent. The company, seen as a bellwether in consumer electronics, also backed its profit outlook for the year.

Apple is selling “unlocked” iPhones in the U.S. for the first time, allowing owners to switch carriers to a limited extent.

Speaking of Apple, word this morning that the tech giant will pay rival mobile phone maker Nokia an undisclosed sum of money to settle a lawsuit over patent infringement. The two companies have been locked in a legal battle since 2009. Nokia claimed Apple used its technologies in the iPhone.

Another tech company is going public. This time it’s Pandora. The online music service is set to push ahead with its IPO this week and hopes to raise about $175 million.

Google is investing $280 million in solar power for private homes, its latest — and largest — investment in clean energy.

New numbers out of Beijing this morning say inflation in China is at its highest level in three years. Consumer prices jumped 5.5 percent last month compared with a year earlier.

Greece’s national credit rating has been downgraded. But the bigger news is that the latest S&P decision means Greece now has the world’s worst credit rating.

Federal regulators will require sunscreen manufacturers to test their products’ effectiveness against sun rays that pose the greatest risk of skin cancer. Under new rules being announced Tuesday, they also will have to follow stricter guidelines when describing how well their products work against ultraviolet B rays.

Well in Seattle today a judge will hear arguments involving unionized labor and Boeing’s much-discussed 787 Dreamliner airplane. Boeing opened up a plant last week in South Carolina to build its new fuel efficient plane — a non-union plant. That’s led to a fight between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board.

A government report says U.S.-based airlines collected nearly $3.5 billion in baggage fees last year. Delta was the biggest bag-charger at almost $1 billion.

Something that’s up? Viewership for the NBA Finals. Sunday’s series-winning match-up between the Mavericks and the Heat drew 23 million viewers to ABC. That’s up 31 percent from the last game of the finals last year.

The Miami Herald yesterday published a Macy’s three-quarter-page ad congratulating the new NBA Finals champs and offering merchandise of the winners of the best-of-seven series. Only problem? The team they chose was the hometown team — the Miami Heat — which lost the series and the championship to the Dallas Mavericks. Making matters even worse, the ad was right under the story about the Heat losing to the Mavericks. You can see a picture of the newspaper page, at our website.

What do New Orleans, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Memphis and New York have in common? They are America’s five dirtiest cities according to the latest Travel + Leisure magazine. They’re ranked based on things like litter, air pollution and the taste of the local tap water. You can see where your city ranks on the list. Don’t feel too bad for the dirtiest city though. New Orleans also ranked number one when it comes to nightlife, which is probably not a coincidence.

What could be better on a hot south Texas day than an ice-cold beer? But those who bought tickets to the inaugural Houston Beer Festival over the weekend were left steaming instead. Event organizers way oversold the event — offering up 20,000 tickets to a park that could only hold 12,000. The line to get into the park’s only entrance was at least three blocks long. And lines for beer taps — which ran dry before day’s end — took as long as half an hour. Which reminds me of some advice my bar-owner dad gave me when I was a teenager: Don’t anger a large crowd of hot, drunk people.

You can read the rest of today’s stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.

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