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DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-GOOGLE GLASS
SAN FRANCISCO — Google hopes to change the face of technology by persuading people to wear a computer on their head. That's the inspiration behind Google Glass, an Internet-connected device that contains a hidden computer and other digital wizardry within spectacle-like frames. I have been eager to get a firsthand look at that all the fuss is about. Although I had limited time with the device, I saw enough to conclude that Glass has the potential to be much more than novelty, especially if Google lowers the price. By Michael Liedtke.
NEW YORK — Shoppers are holding off on back-to-school shopping, and those who hold out long enough might be rewarded with some steep discounts from desperate retailers. An important retail sales measurement rose 3.8 percent in July, the slowest pace since March, and several stores have warned that they are having trouble getting shoppers in the door and spending money. By Anne D'Innocenzio.
WASHINGON — Americans who have a job may feel better knowing that companies are laying off fewer people than at any point since before the Great Recession began. A report shows a measure of applications for unemployment benefits in the past month is at its lowest level since November 2007. The bad news is that finding a new job is still pretty tough, offering little comfort to millions who are unemployed. By Paul Wiseman.
CRASH TESTS-SMALL CARS
DETROIT — Two redesigned Honda Civic models were the only small cars to get the top rating in stringent front-end crash tests performed by an insurance industry group. In all, half of the 12 compact and subcompact cars tested fared poorly, but six performed well. Safety is critical in the fast-growing small-car market, with many buyers downsizing from larger vehicles. By Tom Krisher.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — Mortgage giant Fannie Mae earned $10.1 billion in the second quarter, aided by the recovery in the housing market. The government-controlled company has turned a profit in each of the past six quarters. By Marcy Gordon.
— MORTGAGE RATES — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages barely changed this week, giving prospective homebuyers time to lock in relatively low rates.
NEW YORK — An early gain on Wall Street evaporates by mid-morning, despite better economic news.
— OIL PRICES — Oil prices fall below $104 a barrel.
LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. — Three tickets in Minnesota and New Jersey match all the numbers for a $448.4 million Powerball jackpot, including one sold in a coastal community hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. No winners have come forward. Says one retiree whose home was flooded: "Hopefully, it's somebody who lives in the area, and this is their reward for having gone through this. And if they want to share, we're here." By Geoff Mulvihill and Katie Zezima.
AP photos, video.
RETAIL & CONSUMER:
NEW YORK — McDonald's Corp. says a key sales figure edged up modestly in July, as the popularity of its cheaper eats in the U.S. helped offset declines in Europe. By Candice Choi.
— SWITZERLAND-EARNS-NESTLE — Swiss food and drinks giant Nestle says first-half profit rose nearly 4 percent as it contends with slowing markets and cash-strapped consumers. AP photo.
— GERMANY-EARNS-ADIDAS — Shoe maker Adidas says second-quarter profit rose 4 percent to $229 million as stronger sales in China and Latin America offset a decline in Europe.
BARBIE CONVENTION-NEW ORLEANS
NEW ORLEANS — Barbie is being celebrated Mardi Gras-style at the 2013 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention in New Orleans. Barbie doll lovers are flocking to a downtown hotel this week for festivities that include a Mardi Gras-themed reception, live entertainment, auctions, workshops and a fashion show. By Stacey Plaisance.
NEW YORK — JPMorgan says it is facing a federal criminal probe relating to mortgage-backed securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis. By Steve Rothwell.
— CANADA-OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT — A Canadian judge has granted creditor protection to a rail company whose runaway oil train caused an explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec, a day after the company filed for bankruptcy.
— GM-NEW PICKUPS — General Motors will keep the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon names when it rolls out redesigned midsize pickup trucks next year.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:
NEW YORK — The iPhone and new pricing plans helped T-Mobile gain customers under branded contract plans for the first time in at least two and a half years, a major boost for a wireless carrier that had been dismissed as an afterthought. By Anick Jesdanun.
FRANKFURT, Germany — German telephone company Deutsche Telekom cuts its profit target for the year due to the costs of adding customers in the United States. It says T-Mobile U.S. is adding "droves" of customers in the U.S. but spending on marketing there will rise. It's willing to pay those costs to broaden its business there. By David McHugh.
NEW YORK — Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk can continue to reside in Marvel's offices after a federal appeals court rejects an ownership claim by the children of Jack Kirby, the artist who helped create them.
— FILMS-WERNER HERZOG — Werner Herzog's latest project, a 35-minute film, will explore the dangers of texting while driving. AP photo.
BEIJING — American prosecutors say Pangang Group aimed high. The Chinese state-owned company wanted a better process to make titanium dioxide, a white pigment used in paint, toothpaste and Oreo cookie filling. So it paid spies to steal it from industry giant DuPont. Pangang was indicted last year on U.S. charges of industrial spying and a retired DuPont scientist pleaded guilty to selling secrets. Prosecutors say another defendant was encouraged by a Chinese leader to "make contributions" to the country — rare evidence of high-level official involvement. Then the case stalled while prosecutors tried to force Pangang to answer the charges in a U.S. court. While more victims of China's industrial spying are taking action abroad, DuPont's experience illustrates the legal dead-ends and official inaction in China that stymie even the biggest global companies and foreign prosecutors. Chinese companies accused of using stolen secrets face few consequences. By Joe McDonald.
— CHINA-TRADE — China's trade rebounds in July in a possible sign that the world's No. 2 economy is stabilizing following a slowdown over the past year.
— JAPAN-ECONOMY — Japan's Cabinet approves a blueprint for cuts to welfare and public works spending intended to repair the nation's overstretched finances.
— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Unemployment in Greece has risen to a new record high of 27.6 percent in May. AP photo.
— GERMANY-EARNS-COMMERZBANK — Commerzbank says its second-quarter profit slid as it continues to take losses on bad real estate and shipping loans. But shares jump after the bank says it's making progress getting rid of costly non-core assets.
— CHINA-EARNS-CHINA-UNICOM — China Unicom, one of the country's three big state-owned phone companies, says first-half profit jumped as it signed up more third-generation users and customers used more mobile data services.
OF MUTUAL INTEREST
The weekly personal finance column will be published on Friday, Aug. 9.
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European stock mutual funds are up an average 27 percent over the last 12 months, topping the 21 percent return for the Standard & Poor's 500 index. The strong performance follows the pledge by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi on July 26, 2012, to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro currency. Confidence has grown that his promise reflects that the worst has passed for Europe's debt problems.
Fifth & Pacific loss narrows
The Kate Spade brand helped clothing and accessories maker Fifth & Pacific narrow its second-quarter loss. Sales were weaker for the company's Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand merchandise.