Credit card rules could be changing
The Federal Reserve and other regulators initiated steps Friday to end "unfair and deceptive" credit card industry practices assailing consumers who already are struggling to cope in a bad economy. The proposed rules would be the biggest clampdown on the industry in decades, aiming at protecting people from credit card companies that arbitrarily raise interest rates or don't give borrowers adequate time to pay their bills. The proposals also restrict such lender practices as allocating all payments to balances with lower interest rates when a borrower has balances with different rates. The Fed board voted Friday to approve the recommendations, which may be finalized by December.
Bush hopes rebates will boost economy
President Bush said Friday that the slow growth of the economy is "not good enough for America," but that rebate checks starting to hit banks will inject some life soon. "This economy is going to come on," Bush said. "I'm confident it will." The economy grew at a meager 0.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. That was the same pace as in the final three months of last year. Bush spoke as the latest employment report Friday showed a modest tick of good news. Employers cut far fewer jobs in April than in recent months, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent, which was better than expected. Still, the economy lost jobs for the fourth month in a row.
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Surprise! Chevron posts big profits
Astounding profits in the oil industry are becoming as routine as the anguished looks of motorists filling up their gas tanks. Chevron Corp. put yet another exclamation point on the oil industry's long run of prosperity Friday with a first-quarter profit of $5.17 billion, or $2.48 per share. It was the second-highest quarterly profit in the company's 129-year history and marked the most money it has made during a January-March period.
Report: Microsoft ups Yahoo offer
Microsoft Corp. reportedly dangled a higher takeover bid in front of Yahoo Inc. on Friday, hoping to reach a friendly deal after weeks of behind-the-scenes talks. The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker raised its offer "by several dollars" per share, according to a New York Times report that cited unnamed sources. Yahoo began pressing for a higher offer shortly after Microsoft made its unsolicited bid in February, originally valued at $44.6 billion, or $31 per share.
That so-called economic roller coaster we've been on has been far more chilling than thrilling. How did we get there, and where are we headed?