Business news briefs
interested in Nook
Barnes & Noble shares skyrocketed after a report said Microsoft was offering $1 billion for the digital assets of the bookseller's e-reader business. Investors cheered signs there might be a deal for the digital arm of Nook Media. The report appeared on the technology blog TechCrunch, which cited internal Microsoft documents.
Record profit signals
healthier Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae said something Thursday that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: It earned a record $58.7 billion profit in the January-March quarter. And it made clear it's on the cusp of repaying taxpayers for one of the most expensive bailouts of a single company in the financial crisis. For Fannie, the future hasn't looked this bright since 2006.
at 5-year low
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 last week, to 323,000, a five-year low. Layoffs have returned to pre-recession levels, a trend that could lead to more hiring. The less-volatile four-week average dropped 6,250 to 336,750 the fewest since November 2007, one month before the recession began.
Hedge fund chief
to settle fraud case
Billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone and his firm have agreed to pay $18 million to settle civil fraud charges that he used fund money to pay his taxes and favored some clients over others. Falcone would be barred for two years from working as an investment adviser under the agreement between regulators and Harbinger Capital Partners.
likes Tesla car
The Tesla Model S electric sedan has earned a rare honor from Consumer Reports, with one caveat. The magazine gave the Model S its highest score, a 99 out of 100. The Tesla, which starts at about $70,000, still has too limited a history on the road to earn CR's equally coveted "Recommended Buy" rating.
Americans spent briskly in April in the latest sign that they're encouraged by the economic recovery. Falling gas prices, a rallying stock market and gains in the job market fueled spending habits. Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 4.9 percent year-over-year.
IRS goes overseas
to expose tax cheats
The U.S. is teaming up with Australia and the U.K. in an effort to expose tax cheats from around the world. Tax agencies from the three countries have acquired "a substantial amount of data" about potential tax cheats from many countries hiding assets in Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands, the Internal Revenue Service said.