News In Brief
Hopes of a nationwide recovery were hit with a triple setback in Japan, the world's second-largest economy, where a new set of reports showed consumer prices fell by a record 1 percent for the year while the unemployment rate edged back toward the post-World War II record 4.9 percent of last spring and consumer spending declined for the month of November. Unemployment last month rose to 4.8 percent, although analysts saw a positive sign in the ratio of 65 available jobs per every 100 persons applying for them, a slight rise from October, when the ratio was 64 to 100. But household spending dropped by 2.3 percent since November 1999 - the 17th consecutive month of decline.
For the first time in five months, the struggling euro topped 93 cents against the US dollar on financial markets. Trading was reported thin because of the year-end holidays, but the single European currency climbed to 0.9301 Tuesday - a 13 percent gain over its low-water mark of 0.8230 on Oct. 26. Analysts attributed the rise to uncertainty over a slowing US economy.
The transfer of title to New York's Rockefeller Center is expected in the spring after the announcement late last week that the world-famous landmark had been sold for $1.85 billion. The buyers, Tishman Speyer Properties and the family of Chicago investor Lester Crown, said they planned to spend an additional $70 million "to enhance what has already been done" in a four-year refurbishing project. The deal effectively ends the Rockefeller family's 70-year association with the 22-acre complex, which it had co-owned with Tishman Speyer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and two wealthy European industrial families, the Agnellis of Italy, and the Niarchoses of Greece.
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