Ford CEO to retire; COO to step up

Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, will soon name Mark Fields its next chief executive and reveal when current CEO Alan Mulally, left, will retire from the company he is credited with saving, according to two people familiar with the pending announcement. Mulally, 68, will step down before the end of the year and be succeeded by Fields, 53, now chief operating officer, according to the people, who asked not to be identified revealing internal plans.

Consumer confidence up in Canada

Canadian consumer confidence surged to the highest in more than three years amid rising optimism over the outlook for real estate and the economy. The Bloomberg Nanos Confidence Index climbed to 60.0 in the week ended April 18 from 59.0 the previous period, the highest level since March 2011. Declines in measures of job security and personal finances tempered the gain.

Leading indicators show strength

The index of U.S. leading indicators increased in March by the most in four months, a sign the economic expansion will strengthen following harsh winter weather. The Conference Board's index, a gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months, rose 0.8 percent after a 0.5 percent gain in February, the New York-based group said Monday.

Skechers runs with Boston Marathon win

Skechers USA gained traction in New York trading on Monday after Meb Keflezighi, the American runner who endorses its shoes, triumphed at the Boston Marathon. Keflezighi, 38, is the first American man to win since 1983. ­Skechers signed Keflezighi, right, who also won the 2009 New York Marathon and a silver medal in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, to an endorsement deal in 2011. The company introduced the GOrun line of shoes later that year, with Keflezighi as its main pitchman.

Gates-funded student data firm closes

The head of a student data processing organization says it will shut down in the coming months following criticism that led to the recent loss of its last active client — New York state. The Atlanta-based nonprofit inBloom was started with $100 million in financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corp. The goal was to give educators a data tool to personalize instruction. But the idea of storing sensitive student data in cloud-based servers had parents and lawmakers worried about privacy and security.

SEC weighs changes post-'Flash Boys'

The Securities and Exchange Commission is weighing a requirement that brokers tell investors exactly where their stock trades go to be executed, a proposal that may address complaints that the decisions are sometimes made against the client's best interests. The proposal could give investors more insight into whether they are getting the best price when they buy and sell large numbers of shares, according to three people familiar with the matter. Brokers entrusted with orders in the U.S. stock market can choose from dozens of exchanges and private venues. The SEC faces pressure to overhaul trading after Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys" book made the claim that high-frequency traders hurt other investors by learning which shares investors plan to buy, purchasing them and selling them back at a higher price.

Gas utility pleads not guilty in pipeline blast

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pleaded not guilty Monday to a dozen felony charges stemming from alleged safety violations in a deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion that leveled a suburban neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. As survivors of the blast looked on, attorneys for California's largest utility entered the plea in federal court in San Francisco to 12 felony violations of federal pipeline safety laws. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero noted prosecutors' request to increase the maximum fine PG&E could face to more than $6 million, if the court decides the company somehow benefited financially or saved money as a result of criminal misconduct.

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