The new 'nook' digital reader is displayed at a launching October 20, 2009 in New York City.
The new 'nook' digital reader is displayed at a launching October 20, 2009 in New York City. - 
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Barnes and Noble stock is on track to double in value at the open this morning, following news that Microsoft is investing $300 million in the company's Nook e-reader business and its college textbook division. As part of the deal, the soon-to-be-released Windows 8 will include a Nook application.

U.S. household income rose in March by the most in three months although consumers socked away part of the extra cash by saving more and only modestly increasing spending. Business activity in the U.S. midwest slowed more than expected in April, falling to its lowest since November 2009 as new orders slipped, a report showed on Monday.

The global price of food is tied in crucial ways to soybean prices: And wholesale soybeans prices are now hitting levels not seen just before the 2008 food crisis. When this happens farmers switch to soybeans and away from rice -- that crucial staple of diets in so many parts of the world.

Spain chopped its budgets but now austerity is biting back. There's word today that Spain's economy is now going backwards; that it's contracting at an annual rate of half of one percent. 

In the wake of last year's nuclear disaster that followed the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government is preparing a massive bailout of the TEPCO, the electric utility company. Bloomberg News reports this will likely follow the same plan used when the government had to bailout a big bank, Resona, nine years ago.

Sometimes down market hotels are described as "cheap and cheerful."  What about cheap and sustainable? The group Brighter Planet has plowed through data on hotels nationwide and finds while there's room for improvement at all price levels, the budget hotel chains tend to be the greenest. I'm sure it's laundering all the fancy bathrobes at the upscale places. But Brighter Planet says smaller rooms can use less energy. If that's the equation then some of those microscopic New York hotel rooms must be awfully sustainable.

To Stafford, Va. and one of the strangest shoplifting cases of all time. An 18-year-old dressed in a cow suit allegedly stole 26 gallons of milk from a Walmart. According to the news website Inside Nova, he crawled out of the store with the milk on all fours and handed it out to people. By all accounts, the alleged thief did not moo.

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