Standard & Poors Ratings Services is adjusting the ratings on 37 of the world's largest financial institutions, including downgrading the biggest banks in the United States. Bank of America Corp. and its main subsidiaries were among those cut at least one notch on Tuesday, along with Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. S&P says the changes reflect its new ratings criteria for banks, which incorporate shifts in the worldwide financial industry and macroeconomic trends, including the role of governments and central banks in industry funding.Google now maps part of the great indoors
An upgrade of Google's mobile mapping service released Tuesday includes directions within stores, malls, airports and transit centers in the U.S. and Japan. The initial index -- which includes the Mall of America, Macy's, Home Depot and Ikea, among others -- only covers a small fraction of the great indoors, but Google Inc. is hoping that will change as more owners and operators of shopping and transportation hubs submit their indoor floor plans so they can be mapped. For now, Google's indoor maps can only be viewed on smartphones and tablet computers that run on the company's Android software.U.S. consumers more confident this month
Consumer confidence surged in November to its highest level since July, a sign that Americans may be more willing to spend, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The Conference Board, a private research firm, said its Consumer Confidence Index climbed 15 points in November to 56.0. That is the highest it has been since the 59.2 reading over the summer. That is still well below the level of 90 that indicates an economy on solid footing.One smoking iPhone gave passengers a scare
Apple's iPhone is the world's hottest smartphone -- and one iPhone in Australia appears to be the hottest of the bunch as it spontaneously began smoking last week. Regional Australian airline Regional Express said that an iPhone belonging to a passenger began to expel a "significant amount of dense smoke" and give off a red glow after a flight from Lismore, Australia, landed in Sydney on Friday. A photo accompanying the statement showed the shattered, warped back of a recent-model black iPhone. The airline said a flight attendant extinguished the glow and nobody on the plane was hurt. There have been occasional reports of extreme gadget overheating in the past, often in relation to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
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