Fed minutes reveal more internal dissension

The Federal Reserve's policymaking committee is increasingly divided between advocates for stronger steps to bolster the economy and dissenters who see little benefit and considerable risk in such efforts, according to minutes of the committee's most recent meeting. The Federal Open Market Committee voted at the end of a two-day meeting in September to begin a new effort to reduce long-term interest rates. The Fed disclosed at the time that three members of the 10-person board had voted against the decision. The minutes released Wednesday record that on the other side, two members wanted the Fed to take even stronger action.

Large BlackBerry outage spreads to U.S.

BlackBerry users across the world were exasperated as an outage of e-mail, messaging and Internet services on the phones spread to the U.S. and Canada and stretched into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. It was the biggest outage in years for BlackBerry users. Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the phones, said a crucial link in its European infrastructure failed Monday, and a backup didn't work either. The underlying problem has been fixed, but a backlog of e-mails and messages has built up that the company has yet to work down.

GM planning all-electric Spark car for 2013

General Motors plans to sell an electric version of the Chevrolet Spark subcompact car in the United States. The electric Spark will go on sale in 2013 in select markets, after the 2012 introduction of the gasoline version, the automaker said Wednday during a media event at its Detroit headquarters marking the Chevrolet brand's 100th anniversary. The electric car is part of Chief Executive Dan Akerson's push to make GM a technology leader. GM makes the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid sedan.

U.S. job openings declined in August

Job openings in the U.S. fell in August for the first time in four months, signaling a sustained labor market recovery will take time to unfold. The number of positions waiting to be filled dropped by 157,000 to 3.06 million, according to Labor Department figures issued in Washington. Hiring increased by 38,000 to 4.01 million. Payrolls climbed by 103,000 workers in September, a better-than-forecast outcome that included 45,000 returning Verizon Communications Inc. strikers.

J.C. Penney agrees to buy Liz Claiborne brand

Liz Claiborne Inc. agreed to sell its namesake and Monet brands to J.C. Penney Co. and its Kensie line to Bluestar Alliance as the company works to reduce debt. The transactions and the completion of the sale of Dana Buchman brand to Kohl's Corp. are worth a total of $328 million in cash, New York-based Liz Claiborne said. The transactions are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, the company said.

PC shipments were sluggish in 3rd quarter

Global personal-computer shipments rose less than forecast in the third quarter, dragged down by disappointing back-to-school sales, a sluggish economy, and a shift to tablets and smartphones, according to Gartner Inc. Shipments climbed 3.2 percent, below the 5.1 percent growth that had been projected, the research firm said. The industry shipped 91.8 million units in the period, compared with almost 89 million last year, Gartner found. Hewlett-Packard Co., which is considering whether to spin off its PC business, remained the industry's top seller, accounting for 17.7 percent of the global market.