Confidence up but stocks pose hurdle
NEW YORK -- Americans are feeling better about their job prospects, pushing consumer confidence higher in May. But signs that shoppers are slowing their spending as stocks fall could pose a roadblock on the path to recovery.
Already, reports show retailers' business weakening in May after a solid spring season. Confidence's slow climb back to health could take a hit if the European debt crisis continues to shrink Main Street America's retirement accounts.
The Conference Board, based in New York, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 63.3, up from April's revised 57.7.
Higher rates drew some Fed support
WASHINGTON -- Three of the Federal Reserve's 12 regional banks made a push last month to bump up the interest rate banks pay the Fed for emergency loans, according to a document released Tuesday.
The regional banks were in Kansas City, St. Louis and Dallas. They wanted to boost the discount rate to 1 percent from 0.75 percent. The rate doesn't directly affect borrowing costs for Americans. Last month, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his four other board members unanimously decided to keep the current rate.
The three who voted to raise the rate were likely worried about super-low borrowing costs stoking inflation.
A color version of Kindle a ways off
SEATTLE -- A color version of Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle e-reader may come eventually, but it won't be soon.
Speaking Tuesday at the online retailer's shareholder meeting, CEO Jeff Bezos said adding color to the Kindle's "electronic ink" display is a difficult technical challenge and that a color screen is "still a long way out." Bezos said he's seen things "in the laboratory" that are "still not ready for prime-time production."
Tablets with LCD displays can show color. But those are harder to see in sunlight and use much more power.
S.C. seeks to stop sales of securities
COLUMBIA -- The S.C. Attorney General's office Tuesday ordered a Florida corporation to stop selling securities in what prosecutors think may be a Ponzi scheme.
The cease and desist order was issued against PPE-Life. Prosecutors say Rick Crocker of Wilmington, N.C., and John Barter of Ocala, Fla., have held meetings in Sumter to sign up members for an investment opportunity promising hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits.
Barter said PPE-Life is a legitimate business and has about 250 South Carolina members. He said he will appeal.
Shine is shuttered, but it may reopen
Shine, a restaurant at Line and King streets in downtown Charleston has shut its doors, but its owners are negotiating with a nearby restaurant owner who may reopen it.
Drazen Romic, part owner of Lana on Rutledge Avenue, said Tuesday he was negotiating with Shine's owners. Romic has applied for a liquor license for Shine's address, 58 Line St.
Shine's owner could not be reached for comment. The restaurant's Twitter account posted a message Tuesday thanking customers: "Shine was dear to our heart but we had to let it go."