- - Sunday, July 24, 2011


Jobless rates rose in majority of states

Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in June, evidence that slower hiring is affecting many parts of the country.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates in 28 states and Washington, D.C., increased last month. Rates declined in eight states and were flat in 14. That’s a change from May, when 24 states reported falling unemployment rates.

Twenty-six states reported a net gain in jobs in June, while 24 states lost jobs.

The changing trend in state unemployment rates reflects a weaker economy hampered by high gas prices and lower factory output. Nationally, employers added only 18,000 net jobs in June, the second straight month of feeble hiring. The U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 9.2 percent.


Apple mulling online video service bid

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Inc. is in talks to potentially bid for video-streaming service Hulu, a person close to the situation said Friday.

The person, who said Apple is among several companies interested in Hulu, spoke on the condition of anonymity because authorization to talk about the matter was not given. Earlier this month, search giant Google Inc. was said to be among about a dozen companies in talks to potentially buy Hulu. Yahoo Inc. is also believed to be interested.

Hulu, which is owned by Disney, News Corp., Comcast Corp. and Providence Equity Partners, started presenting its financial information to interested bidders late last month, after an unsolicited offer prompted its board to look for other offers.

The online video service streams movies and TV shows from broadcasters ABC, Fox and NBC to computers and, for a monthly fee, to a number of Web-connected mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It expects its paid service, Hulu Plus, to have more than a million subscribers by the end of the summer and its CEO, Jason Kilar, has said it is profitable.


Civil suit against Facebook tossed

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Boston has dismissed a lawsuit against Facebook filed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Harvard classmates of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The Winklevoss twins’ claim that Mr. Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from them got the full Hollywood treatment last year in the hit movie “The Social Network.”

On Friday, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock from the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts dismissed the lawsuit the brothers filed in 2007.

In 2008, Facebook agreed to pay them $65 million in cash and stock, but they and partner Divya Narendra wanted more. The brothers said last month they would not appeal their case to the Supreme Court.

Facebook isn’t commenting. A lawyer for the Winklevosses says a judgment had been expected.


New credit card aims to minimize ‘gotchas’

NEW YORK — It’s a credit card that grants three wishes.

Citigroup on Monday plans to launch a credit card that marries a trio of perks - no late fees, no penalty rate and a single interest rate for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

The revamped Simplicity card will be marketed to those who are juggling busy schedules and want a credit card with simple terms, said Jud Linville, CEO of Citi Cards. “It lets them not have to worry that they’re going to be late on a payment. It provides some flexibility,” he said.

But as attractive as the card’s features may sound, there are a few reasons to think twice before applying.

One of the biggest drawbacks is the card’s 16.99 percent interest rate. That’s higher than the average rate on the market of 14.40 percent last week, according to Bankrate.com, which tracks financial data. So if you’re prompt with payments but tend to carry a balance, a low interest rate is likely a bigger priority than the perks offered by Citi’s new card.

The Simplicity card also doesn’t offer any rewards, which can be a deal breaker for some. Or it may turn out you won’t qualify for the card. Citi declined to specify what type of credit background is required. But CardHub.com, which lets consumers search and compare card offers, lists the Simplicity card for those with “excellent” scores of 720 or higher.

Citi, which has been testing the card on the market in the weeks ahead of its official launch, is nevertheless betting that the combination of perks will attract consumers.

“The value is not having the surprises,” Mr. Linville said. “In exchange, you have an upfront, transparent fee that’s a little bit higher.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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