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Last Update on March 27, 2015 07:26 GMT
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government will issue its third and final estimate of how fast the U.S. economy grew in the October-December period today when the Commerce Department releases the fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product.
Also today, the University of Michigan will release its monthly index of consumer sentiment for March.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan has reported lackluster inflation and wages data for February that suggest its economic recovery remains in the doldrums.
The government said Friday that core inflation was 2.0 percent in February, down from 2.2 percent in January. Excluding the impact of an April 2014 sales tax hike, inflation was flat.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to spur growth through extreme monetary easing by the central bank that is meant to drive prices higher, prompting consumers and businesses to accelerate their spending.
But household spending fell 2.9 percent from a year earlier in February, while base wages slipped 1.9 percent, the 13th straight monthly decline. Sluggish wage growth has hurt consumers' purchasing power.
In a positive sign, unemployment fell to 3.5 percent in February from 3.6 percent the month before.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Yahoo says it will buy back $2 billion in company stock as it prepares to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
Investors were pushing Yahoo to use some of the proceeds from the Alibaba spinoff to buy back stock, and the company had said it would keep buying back stock to return cash to shareholders.
The stock repurchase program will expire March 31, 2018. Yahoo has $726 million remaining on previous stock buyback plan, which was approved in 2013 and expires at the end of 2016.
In January, Yahoo Inc. said it will spin off its stake in Alibaba into a separate company later this year. The move will allow the new entity to pay lower taxes on Alibaba stock sales than Yahoo would have.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A hearing on whether to approve the bankruptcy sale of assets of electronics retailer RadioShack is under way. It opened Thursday with the company seeking court approval of the purported winning bid, and an attorney for a losing bidder, Salus Capital Partners, describing the auction as a sham and asking a Delaware judge to reopen the sale process.
RadioShack, based in Fort Worth, Texas, says an offer valued at about $160 million from hedge fund Standard General LP was the best bid submitted in an auction that began Monday in New York and was suddenly reconvened in Wilmington, Delaware, after midnight Thursday, just hours before the court hearing.
Standard General's bid, which would keep 1,743 stores open and preserve about 7,500 jobs, consists mostly of credit on debt it is owed.
ARCTIC OIL DRILLING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Energy Department advisory council study says the U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future.
The U.S. has drastically cut imports and transformed itself into the world's biggest producer of oil and natural gas by tapping huge reserves in shale rock formations. But the government predicts that the shale boom won't last much beyond the next decade.
In order for the U.S. to keep domestic production high and imports low, oil companies should start probing the Artic now because it takes 10 to 30 years of preparation and drilling to bring oil to market. The study's draft executive summary was obtained by the Associated Press.
The study, produced by the National Petroleum Council at the request of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, comes at a time when many argue the world needs less oil, not more. U.S. oil storage facilities are filling up, the price of oil has collapsed from over $100 a barrel to around $50, and prices are expected to stay relatively low for years to come.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Experts from national laboratories around the country have determined that an incompatible cocktail of nitrate salts and organic cat litter is to blame for a mishap that forced the closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.
The independent technical team released its report Thursday.
The team was charged by the U.S. Energy Department to investigate the chemical reactions that may have led to the release of radioactive material at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in February 2014.
The report comes more than a year after a single container of waste stored at the repository breached and contaminated 21 workers with low-level radioactivity.
The container came from Los Alamos National Laboratory.
While it couldn't determine the cause of the breach with absolute certainty, the team says it's clear a thermal reaction inside the container forced the lid to pop.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Monsanto Co. has agreed to pay $600,000 in fines for not reporting hundreds of uncontrolled releases of dangerous chemicals at its eastern Idaho phosphate plant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced the agreement involving the biotechnology company's Soda Springs facilities.
Federal officials say the chemicals released are hazardous and can pose serious health risks.
Federal officials say the releases occurred between 2006 and 2009, with the plant emitting hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. Companies are required to report such releases immediately.
The Soda Springs facilities are operated by P4 Production LLC, a wholly owned Monsanto subsidiary.
The company says in a statement that it cares deeply about public health and is committed to complying with applicable laws.
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