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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 27, 2006

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Inflation rise slows economy

Advertiser Staff and News Services

WASHINGTON Consumers spent at a strong pace in April but much of their money went to fill up their gasoline tanks.

Soaring gas prices sent consumer confidence plunging while an inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve rose by the largest amount in 13 months.

The latest economic data released yesterday depicted an economy slowing from the sizzling growth of the first three months of the year and buffeted by rising inflation pressures.


LONDON TIMES COMING TO U.S.

LONDON Rupert Murdoch's London-based The Times newspaper said it will launch a U.S. edition next month as part of a push to make the paper an international brand, entering a competitive New York market at a challenging time in the newspaper industry.

The 64-page edition for readers in the United States will go on sale for a sample price of $1 in New York and New Jersey on June 6.


GROUPS OPPOSE DELTA WAGE CUTS

ATLANTA Delta Air Lines Inc.'s quest for another round of wage cuts from its pilots has hit some turbulence in an unlikely place the bankruptcy court.

The court is often a friend to the debtor, helping it wipe away obligations and restructure leases. But the court is now being asked by the government's influential pension insurer and some retired pilots to nix the concessions deal the company and pilots union recently reached.

The dual objections have raised questions about whether the court will approve the deal, which Delta says would save it $280 million a year, at a hearing Wednesday in New York.


SEARS TO CLOSE 20 HARDWARE STORES

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings Corp. says it is closing 20 of its hardware stores in the continental United States, including nine in Michigan, because of sluggish sales.

The stores are expected to remain open through the end of June while liquidation sales are held. The closures will leave Sears with 119 hardware stores nationwide.


CHINESE IPO LURES INVESTORS

SHANGHAI, China Bank of China's $9.7 billion initial public offering, the latest in Beijing's parade of attractions, has drawn keen interest among stock market investors hoping to buy into China's growth despite the risks.

The IPO, the world's biggest in six years, brings to the international market China's second-largest and oldest bank, and one that like its peers is still contending with a legacy of lending scandals and bad debts.

With shares representing a 10.5 percent stake in the company priced at 38 cents each, Bank of China has an initial market capitalization of about $96 billion.