Austin American-Statesman Business Digest column [Austin American-Statesman]
(Austin American-Statesman (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 21--TECHNOLOGY
Dell sues over price fixing allegations
Dell Inc. filed a lawsuit in federal court in Austin this week claiming it was hurt by price fixing for a computer component that it rarely uses anymore.
Dell is seeking damages from Philips Electronics North America, Irico Display Devices Co. and other defendants for price fixing on cathode ray tubes (CRTs) that it bought between 1995 and 2007. Cathode ray tubes were once commonly used in personal computer displays. In recent years they have been largely replaced by flat-panel displays.
The Dell suit follows a series of other suits and regulatory enforcement actions against various CRT makers that claimed collusion and price fixing. The U.S. Department of Justice, Korea Fair Trade Commission and European Commission have all filed legal actions or imposed fines on CRT makers for price fixing.
The Dell lawsuit claims the computer maker first learned it had been harmed in 2007 when government investigations against supplier companies became public.
The suit seeks to recover damages that Dell says it suffered because of alleged price fixing.
Work under way on Round Rock's fifth H-E-B store
H-E-B will open a fifth Round Rock location this fall, the company said Wednesday.
The 120,000-square-foot store at 250 University Blvd. will anchor the second phase of the University Commons shopping center. An assortment of soon-to-open shops and restaurants will take up another 75,000 square feet of space, the San Antonio-based grocer said.
An estimated 300 employees will be hired, according to H-E-B, with staffing expected to begin in July.
H-E-B's four existing Round Rock stores are at 3750 Gattis School Road; 16900 N. RM 620; 603 Louis Henna Blvd.; and 1700 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Food costs pushes up wholesale prices
WASHINGTON -- U.S. wholesale prices rose only slightly in January after three straight declines, the latest sign that inflation is posing no threat. It means the Federal Reserve has room to keep interest rates at record lows without worrying about igniting inflation.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index rose 0.2 percent last month, the first increase since September. Gasoline and other energy prices fell, while food prices jumped 0.7 percent after dropping sharply in December.
The index measures the cost of goods before they reach consumers. Wholesale prices are what manufacturers and farmers receive for their products.
Fed minutes show concerns about bond purchases
WASHINGTON -- Several Federal Reserve policymakers suggested last month that the Fed might have to scale back its efforts to keep borrowing costs low for the foreseeable future.
Minutes of the Fed's Jan. 29-30 policy meeting released Wednesday showed that some officials worried about the Fed's plan to keep buying $85 billion in bonds each month until the job market has improved substantially. They expressed concern that the continued purchases could eventually escalate inflation, unsettle financial markets or cause the Fed to absorb losses once it begins selling its investments.
According to the minutes, some Fed officials thought an ongoing review of the bond purchases might lead the policy committee to slow or end its purchases "before it judged that a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market has occurred."
In the end, the Fed voted 11-1 last month to keep its bond-buying program open-ended and at the same size.
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