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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 30, 2006

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Consumers trim their spending

Advertiser News Services

WASHINGTON Consumers battered by weak income growth and rising inflation trimmed their spending sharply in August.

But analysts said a consumer confidence rebound in September should limit damage to the economy. The Commerce Department reported yesterday that consumer spending edged up just 0.1 percent in August after a much stronger 0.8 percent rise in July.

After removing inflation, spending actually dropped in August, falling by 0.1 percent, the weakest showing since September 2005 when the Gulf Coast was reeling from Hurricane Katrina.


SMALLER AUTOS GETTING ATTENTION

PARIS Smaller is better at the Paris Motor Show, at least for automakers looking to exploit consumer disgust with higher gas prices.

It's a mantra that's been heard before when energy prices have risen.

But for automakers around the globe, the idea of smaller cars that use less fuel yet retain the spirit of the traditional sport utility vehicle is taking root.

Most of the major automakers showed off high-end sedans and sport-inspired models, including the DaimlerChrysler SLR McLaren 722 Edition but smaller models proved top draws at the media preview ahead of today's official opening.


TRIBUNE CO. UNDER THE GUN

CHICAGO Barely three months after the demise of Knight Ridder Inc., the same pressures that forced the storied newspaper publisher out of existence are shaking the foundations of another media empire.

But as Tribune Co. considers a potentially drastic makeover amid impatience on Wall Street, declining circulation and other issues, the third-largest U.S. newspaper company isn't necessarily facing a wholesale dismantlement or selloff within the next few months.

The pressure on Tribune to act is intense, though. Tribune signaled a week ago its intent to make big changes, and CEO Dennis FitzSimons says all options are on the table.


BAN SOUGHT ON PRETEXTING

WASHINGTON Executives from the nation's largest wireless telephone companies told lawmakers yesterday they should outlaw the practice of lying to get access to someone else's phone records also known as pretexting.

On the second day of testimony over the spying scandal that has embroiled the Hewlett-Packard Co., a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee asked the six executives to defend how they safeguard their customers' private billing information.

The nearly three-hour hearing followed Thursday's session at which Hewlett-Packard's top executives were grilled about their roles in the scandal.

Many invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.