Business briefs

  • Updated: March 17, 2014 - 9:30 PM

The 1,776-foot One World Trade Center is seen on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Unemployment falls again in most states

Unemployment rates fell in 43 U.S. states in January as more Americans began looking for work and most quickly found jobs. The Labor Department said Monday that the unemployment rate rose in just one state — Iowa — where the rate increased to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent. Still, that’s far below the national rate of 6.6 percent that month. Rates were unchanged in six states.

Inflation slows in euro region

Euro-area inflation unexpectedly slowed in February, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to defend the region against falling prices. Consumer prices rose an annual 0.7 percent, down from 0.8 percent in January, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said Monday. That’s below Eurostat’s initial estimate of 0.8 percent on Feb. 28. The rate has been below 1 percent for five months.

Accounts breached at Sally Beauty

Sally Beauty is reporting that a security breach discovered on March 5 affected fewer than 25,000 a credit and debit card accounts. The seller of beauty supplies is pursuing its investigation with a forensics firm and says that it’s working with the U.S. Secret Service on a preliminary investigation into the matter. Sally Beauty Holdings Inc., which is based in Denton, Texas, will provide more information on its website in coming days and it says that and it will inform affected customers on the steps it will be taking.

Big Apple overtakes Big Ben as financial hub

New York replaced London as the world’s leading financial center for the first time, after London was rocked by a series of scandals and questions over the U.K.’s place in the European Union. New York holds the top spot in the latest Global Financial Centres Index with a “shaky, statistically insignificant” two-point lead, according to Michael Mainelli, chairman of Z/Yen Group, which compiles the index. Hong Kong and Singapore, the two leading Asian centers, have narrowed the gap between them and the top two to fewer than 30 points on a scale of 1,000, the index shows.

Penny-stock website operator unmasked

Short-sellers and stock promoters have puzzled for years over who operated one of the largest penny-stock websites. A U.S. lawsuit points to a 26-year-old from Montreal. John Babikian used an e-mail list called AwesomePennyStocks to tout a coal company’s stock while dumping his own shares, the Securities and Exchange Commission said last week in a civil complaint. AwesomePennyStocks’ messages about that firm and 38 others helped fuel spikes in share prices that boosted the combined value of the stocks by as much as $3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Judge rules for Porsche in hedge-fund case

The former holding company for the automaker Porsche won a victory Monday in its long-running legal battle with a group of hedge funds, after a German judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking damages over events leading up to its attempt to acquire Volks­wagen. A group of 23 hedge funds had been seeking $1.89 billion in damages from Porsche Holding over what the funds said were misleading statements made by company executives before the attempt in 2008 to acquire Volkswagen. News services

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