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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

August 7, 2014, 4:18 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are edging lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Investors are still troubled by the potential for escalating tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level of the year.

  • Consumer spending has soared since the recession ended in states with oil and gas drilling booms, but lags in states hit hard by the housing bust. Spending surged 28 percent in North Dakota from 2010 through 2012 and jumped nearly 16 percent in Oklahoma. By contrast, spending rose just 3.5 percent in Nevada and 6.2 percent in Arizona, two states where home values plummeted. The figures come from a new government report that reveals consumer spending on a state-by-state basis.
  • The nation's airlines are extending a string of poor performances. The U.S. Department of Transportation says more U.S. flights arrived late in June than the month before. And for the first six months of the year, the rate of late flights was the highest since 2008, while cancellations were the highest since 2000. Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines had the best on-time ratings in June, with Delta leading the biggest carriers. Southwest Airlines and regional airlines Envoy and ExpressJet were at the bottom of the rankings.
  • Google is wielding the power of its dominant Internet search to push more websites into protecting the people using their services. The move involves a change in Google's closely guarded formula for determining the rankings of its search results. Websites that automatically encrypt their services will now be boosted higher in Google's recommendation system. It's part of a Google campaign to make it tougher for government spies and computer hackers to grab the personal data of unwitting Web surfers.
  • Revelations about the National Security Agency's electronic eavesdropping capabilities have sparked anger in Germany and a boom in encryption services. Silent Circle sells an encryption app that allows users to talk and text in private. Its co-founder says disclosures from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have boosted its business. The market is especially hot in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) was reported to be a target.

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