Washington Post puts Newsweek up for sale

Newsweek, the 77-year-old weekly news magazine hobbled by sagging ad revenue and circulation, is being put up for sale by the Washington Post Co., which is bowing out of the struggle to keep the genre relevant. Newsweek has been piling up losses for the past two years, and it cut costs through voluntary buyouts that have reduced its staff by about a quarter. With average circulation of 2.3 million last year, Newsweek remains second among newsweeklies behind Time, which had average circulation of 3.4 million in 2009.

MasterCard data show mixed April retail sales

Consumers bought less clothing and footwear in April than they did in the same month last year but opened their wallets for electronics, major appliances and status goods, purchase data show. The month's rainy weather contributed to mixed results, including a sharp increase in online sales, according to the latest numbers from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse. It was the ninth straight month that online sales rose compared with a year earlier.

GM hires former Hyundai marketing chief

General Motors Co. has hired the marketing whiz who helped Hyundai nearly double its U.S. market share. The taxpayer-owned automaker is bringing on Joel Ewanick, the former head of marketing for Hyundai Motor America who developed the successful campaign that promised to take back cars from customers who lost their jobs. The campaign, called Hyundai Assurance, was instrumental in boosting Hyundai sales last year as the recession ravaged rivals.

Service sector grows for 4th straight month

The service sector expanded in April, with business activity accelerating at the strongest pace in four years. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its service sector index read 55.4 in April, the same level as in March. It's the fourth straight month of growth. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a stronger reading of 56. A level above 50 indicates growth.

States asked to scrutinize WellPoint increases

The Obama administration threw another jab at the country's largest health insurer by asking state regulators to double-check WellPoint Inc. premium hikes after an audit found problems with proposed California increases. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to state insurance commissioners they should re-examine any WellPoint rate increases. WellPoint said it believed the miscalculation was unique to its California business.

FROM NEWS SERVICES