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The Buzz On Business

TV BUYERS STEERED TO PRICEY LCDs: LCD or plasma? If you've been shopping for a flat-panel TV, that's the big question. According to a mystery shopper survey, electronics salespeople don't know much about the differences, but still have a ready answer: LCD. More than three times out of four, salespeople steer customers to a liquid-crystal display set rather than a plasma screen, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates released Monday. Never mind that LCD TVs are more expensive for the same size. The survey also found that more than 37 percent of salespeople warned customers that images can "burn" into plasma screens. Fewer than one-fourth told customers that LCD sets are lighter and consume less power than plasma. The report was based on the experiences of more than 2,000 mystery shoppers during the past six months. It focused on sets 40 inches or larger, where plasmas are contenders.

FED CHIEF PLAYS ITS SAFE WITH OWN MONEY: Engulfed by economic and financial turbulence, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has taken extraordinary steps to ease the nation's problems. His own finances are a bit more straightforward. The chairman's financial disclosure form, released Monday, showed his holdings last year were in no-frills investments, including U.S. Treasury securities, Canadian Treasury bonds, mutual funds and annuities. Bernanke, 54, took over the central bank in February 2006, succeeding Alan Greenspan, who also played it safe when it came to his own investments while at the Fed.

GM, UTILITIES TO STUDY IMPACT OF ELECTRIC CAR: General Motors Corp. has joined with more than 30 utility companies across the nation to help work out electricity issues that will crop up when it rolls out new electric vehicles in 2010. The Detroit automaker said the partnership, which includes the Electric Vehicle Research Institute and large utilities such as Southern California Edison and Duke Energy Corp., will deal with issues from tax incentives for the vehicles to where and when they can be plugged in for recharging. GM aims to bring the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable car to showrooms in late 2010.

BEE NEWS SERVICES

Figuratively Speaking

60 to 80: Percentage of inbound phone leads that are lost by most marketing companies, according to SecondApproach services.

50: Percentage of small and medium businesses that would pay for better online visibility and customer information.

46: Percentage of Americans who are afraid they're being worked over as their cars are worked on. They lack confidence that their mechanic is charging them a fair price, according to a survey commissioned by DriverSide and conducted by Kelton Research.

46: Percentage of Americans who say that keeping up with their cars' regularly scheduled maintenance is a hassle and an inconvenience.

JOHN MacINTYRE,

UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

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