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Economy Briefs: Card fee settlement opposed by retail group

RETAILERS

Card fee settlement opposed by retail group

NEW YORK — The National Retail Federation is opposing a proposed $7.25 billion settlement that Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and major banks have agreed to pay retailers for alleged fee fixing.

The retail trade association said Tuesday that its board has given approval for it to go to court to try to block the settlement. The NRF, which is not a party to the lawsuit that led to the settlement, says it is unsure whether outside groups will be allowed to intervene or if the case qualifies as a class action.

The NRF says it thinks the proposed settlement will not stop swipe fees from continuing to rise, which will hurt both retailers and shoppers, and that it will prevent any future legal challenges.

The NRF represents more than 9,000 retailers of various sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the U.S. and 45 other countries.

LABOR

Fewer open jobs are posted in July

U.S. employers posted fewer jobs in July than in June, further evidence that hiring may stay weak in the coming months.

Job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.67 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That's down from June's 3.72 million job openings, which was revised lower.

The data follow Friday's disappointing employment report, which said the economy added just 96,000 jobs in August. That's below July's total of 141,000 and the average 226,000 a month added in the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but only because the number of people looking for work fell.

BANKS

Morgan Stanley to buy Citi's Smith Barney stake

NEW YORK — Morgan Stanley and Citigroup settled a dispute Tuesday over the value of the brokerage firm Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which they own jointly.

The deal clears the way for Morgan Stanley to buy Citigroup's 49 percent interest in the broker, giving Morgan Stanley full ownership. It also will result in a $2.9 billion after-tax charge for Citi.

Morgan Stanley will purchase Citi's interest in Smith Barney in stages, starting with a 14 percent stake for $1.89 billion. It will buy the rest by June 1, 2015.

The deal values Smith Barney at $13.5 billion.

FAST FOOD

McDonald's sales bounce back on value deals

NEW YORK — McDonald's said a key sales figure climbed 3.7 percent in August as the fast-food chain emphasized the value of its menu offerings amid the challenging global economy.

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Tuesday that its breakfast menu and value items pushed up sales by 3 percent in the U.S. Last month, the figure had dipped 0.1 percent in the region after the company said its promotions had failed to drive growth.

McDonald's has been intensifying its "messaging around value," noted Andrew M. Barish, a Jefferies Group Inc. analyst. For example, he noted that the company ran promotions for its breakfast Dollar Menu in mid-August.

TECHNOLOGY

New iPhone app offered to fill looming void

SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube is being reprogrammed for the iPhone and iPad amid the latest fallout from the growing hostility between Apple and the video service's owner, Google.

The new format debuted Tuesday with the release of a new YouTube application that will introduce more advertising and more videos on Apple's trend-setting devices.

The changes are being made because Google Inc. and Apple Inc. didn't renew a five-year licensing agreement that established YouTube as one of the built-in applications in the operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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