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Editorial Results (free)

1. Haslam Tells Tennessee Agencies to Plan for Cuts -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is calling on all state agencies to plan for up to 7 percent spending cuts in the upcoming budget year.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the move comes following a spending year in which revenues fell more than $300 million short of projections, leading the governor to cancel planned raises for state workers and teachers.

2. Sprouts Confirms Lakeland, Germantown Stores in 2015 -

Sprouts Farmers Market, a fast-growing specialty grocery chain, has confirmed it will open two Memphis-area stores in 2015, one in Germantown and another in Lakeland.

Sprouts will turn the 30,000-square-foot former Schnucks location at The Shops of Forest Hill at Poplar Avenue and Forest Hill-Irene Road in Germantown into one of its stores, which replicate the look and feel of an indoor farmers market and specialize in fresh, organic and healthy food.

3. Sprouts Applies for Building Permit -

Sprouts Farmers Market has applied for a building permit to turn the old Kroger store in Lakeland into one of its upscale grocery stores.

Sprout applied for a $650,000 building permit to renovate the former Kroger at 9050 U.S. 64 in Lakeland. The building permit application lists AAD Fitch Inc. as the architect on the project.

4. Sprouts Farmers Market Applies for Building Permit -

Sprouts Farmers Market has applied for a building permit to turn the old Kroger store in Lakeland into one of its upscale grocery stores.

Sprout applied for a $650,000 building permit to renovate the former Kroger at 9050 U.S. 64 in Lakeland. The building permit application lists AAD Fitch Inc. as the architect on the project.

5. SEC Adopts Rules on Loan-Backed Securities -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Financial firms that sell securities backed by loans, like the kind that fueled the 2008 financial crisis, will have to give investors details on borrowers' credit record and income under action taken Wednesday by federal regulators.

6. Airlines Report Big Second-Quarter Profits -

Investing in airlines has long been the butt of jokes, especially when many U.S. carriers traipsed through bankruptcy court in the past decade.

Now riding a post-merger tide of higher fares and stable fuel costs, those same airlines are piling up profits – and sharing the newfound riches with investors.

7. Economic Experts Offer Analysis, Forecast -

A report from Fitch Ratings May 14 declared that going forward the U.S. economy will have to grow without the help it has enjoyed in recent years from things such as low interest rates and government spending.

8. Mississippi College Savings Plan to Reopen Enrollment -

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A board has voted unanimously to re-open enrollment this fall in the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program.

The state-backed savings plan had been closed to new enrollees since the fall of 2012 because of concerns about a funding shortfall.

9. Fitch Takes US Off Negative Ratings Watch -

A credit rating firm has concluded a review of the United States’ credit rating and reiterated that it deserves the highest rating.

Fitch Ratings had started a review of the U.S. debt rating in October and warned it might downgrade the nation’s rating.

10. Agency Warns Mississippi About Bond Rating -

The Fitch credit rating agency has downgraded Mississippi’s bond rating outlook from stable to negative.

The state’s bond rating remains AA+, only one notch below the highest AAA level, but the agency warns the rating could be lowered unless officials take steps to shore up finances. A lower bond rating would make it more expensive for state government to borrow money.

11. Agency Warns Mississippi About Bond Rating -

The Fitch credit rating agency has downgraded Mississippi’s bond rating outlook from stable to negative.

The state’s bond rating remains AA+, only one notch below the highest AAA level, but the agency warns the rating could be lowered unless officials take steps to shore up finances. A lower bond rating would make it more expensive for state government to borrow money.

12. Haslam Meets With Bond Rating Agencies -

Gov. Bill Haslam is making his annual case for Tennessee to keep its strong bond rating.

The Republican governor traveled to New York on Wednesday to meet with the three main bond rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Inc.

13. Shutdown Over, Obama Surveys Damage and Blames GOP -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The government unlocked its doors Thursday after 16 days, with President Barack Obama saluting the resolution of Congress' bitter standoff but lambasting Republicans for the partial shutdown that he said had damaged the U.S. economy and America's credibility around the world.

14. Haslam Meets With Bond Rating Agencies -

Gov. Bill Haslam is making his annual case for Tennessee to keep its strong bond rating.

The Republican governor traveled to New York on Wednesday to meet with the three main bond rating agencies, Standard and Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Inc.

15. A Deal: Voting to Avoid Default, Open Government -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Up against one last deadline, Congress raced to pass legislation Wednesday avoiding a threatened national default and ending a 16-day partial government shutdown along the strict terms set by President Barack Obama when the twin crises began.

16. In-Rel Could Face Default on Clark Tower -

In-Rel Properties Inc. could face “imminent default” on a $60.8 million loan secured by Clark Tower, a 33-story office building at 5100 Popular Ave., according to a Fitch Ratings report released Sept. 5.

17. Study Shows Tennessee's Debt Ratio Lowest in Nation -

NASHVILLE (AP) – A recent study shows Tennessee's debt ratio is the lowest in the nation.

The state comptroller's office said in a release this week that the study was conducted by New York-based Fitch Ratings, one of the country's top bond rating agencies.

18. Fitch Upholds 'A' Rating on Memphis International -

Fitch Ratings upheld its A rating on Memphis International Airport bonds following Delta Air Lines’ announcement that it will end connecting activity at the airport Sept. 3.

Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the rating on the airport’s outstanding revenue bonds to A3, from A2, and revised its investor outlook to stable, from negative.

19. Fitch Upholds a Rating on Memphis International Airport -

Fitch Ratings upheld its A rating on Memphis International Airport bonds following Delta Air Lines’ announcement that it will end connecting activity at the airport Sept. 3.

Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the rating on the airport’s outstanding revenue bonds to A3, from A2, and revised its investor outlook to stable, from negative.

20. Cox: Airport Could See More Competition -

Airports that once served as major hubs won’t likely regain their previous level of flight service, and if they do, it could take decades, Larry Cox, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority told members of the board and airport officials.

21. US Sues Standard & Poor's Over Pre-Crisis Mortgage Ratings -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. government says Standard & Poor's knowingly inflated its ratings on risky mortgage investments that helped trigger the 2008 financial crisis.

The credit rating agency gave high marks to mortgage-backed securities because it wanted to earn more business from the banks that issued the investments, the Justice Department alleges in charges filed in federal court in Los Angeles .

22. Mississippi Economy Growing Slowly, Lawmakers are Told -

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi's economy is growing gradually but still lags behind the pace of the U.S. economy overall, an expert told state lawmakers Thursday.

State economist Darrin Webb said during a briefing at the Capitol that the state and nation have a "boring kind of economy" right now, with slow job growth and shaky consumer confidence.

23. Fitch Ratings Downgrades First Horizon National Corp. -

Fitch Ratings has made a downward revision to a rating assigned to the largest bank based in Tennessee.

Fitch downgraded the long-term Issuer Default Ratings of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. and its banking subsidiary First Tennessee Bank N.A. to “BBB-” from “BBB.” However, Fitch also assigned a “stable rating outlook” to the ratings.

24. Foreign Holdings of US Debt Hit Record $5.48 Trillion -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Foreign ownership of U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level in October, a sign that overseas investors remain confident in U.S. debt despite a potential budget crisis.

25. Haslam Optimistic About State's Credit Rating -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam said meetings with three credit agencies this week went well and he is optimistic about the outcomes.

Tennessee currently has triple-A credit ratings from Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Inc. and a double-A-plus rating from Standard and Poor's.

26. Mississippi Eyes Overhaul of Prepaid Tuition Program -

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch has told lawmakers that she suspended the state’s prepaid college tuition program because it is struggling financially and an audit will show whether it needs to be overhauled or scrapped.

27. Moody’s Set to Downgrade US -

NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. government’s debt rating could be heading for the “fiscal cliff” along with the federal budget.

Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday said it would likely cut its “Aaa” rating on U.S. government debt, probably by one notch, if budget negotiations fail.

28. MAA Completes $175M Senior Unsecured Notes Offering -

Memphis-based MAA and its operating partnership, Mid-America Apartments LP., have completed an issuance of $175 million of Senior Unsecured Notes.

29. TVA Prices 10-Year Bonds at Record Interest Rate -

The Tennessee Valley Authority is offering $1 billion in 10-year global power bonds bearing an interest rate of 1.875, the lowest interest rate ever on a TVA long-term bond.

TVA said in a statement Tuesday, Aug. 7, that the public utility issued the 10-year bond with a yield of 1.97 percent on Monday to use to pay down short-term debt. Fitch Ratings assigned a AAA rating to the bonds on Monday.

30. Clearances, Heat Lured Shoppers to Spend in July -

NEW YORK (AP) – Americans shoppers proved resilient in July, driving a key sales figure up at retailers across the country, despite persistent worry about jobs and the global economy.

Results came in better than expected for many retailers, helped by hot weather and summer clearance sales, an encouraging sign as the back-to-school season, the second-biggest shopping season behind the holidays, kicks off.

31. First Horizon Reports Q2 Loss -

The Memphis-based parent company of First Tennessee Bank swung as expected to a second-quarter loss Friday, July 20, over mortgage buyback demand from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

32. More US Homes Facing Foreclosure Risk in June -

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Banks are increasingly placing homes with unpaid mortgages on a countdown that could deliver a swell of new foreclosed properties onto the market by early next year, potentially weighing further on home values.

33. First Horizon Likely to Post Negative Q2 -

The Memphis-based parent company of First Tennessee Bank is likely to break a string of profitable quarters when the company makes its second-quarter earnings presentation in a few weeks.

34. AIRfair? -

Two frequent-flyer businessmen booked side-by-side seats on Delta Air Lines flights from Minneapolis to St. Louis last month, with one of them getting charged a higher price than the other each time they tried booking it.

35. Fitch Ratings Downgrades Memphis Airport Bonds -

The credit rating agency Fitch Ratings reacted Friday, May 18, to decreasing passenger flights and passenger counts at Memphis International Airport by downgrading airport bonds from an A+ rating to an A and revising its rating outlook from negative to stable.

36. Morgan Keegan Deal Coming Into Focus -

The $930 million deal reached earlier this month in which Raymond James Financial Inc. is buying Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. isn’t scheduled to close for several more weeks. Regulatory approvals are needed, plus there’s a lot of work ahead to integrate the two investment firms.

37. Fitch May Lower Fannie, Freddie Debt Outlook -

NEW YORK (AP) – The Fitch ratings agency will likely lower its outlook for debts linked to the U.S. government to negative, including debt of government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

38. Fed Announces Third Round of Bank Stress Tests -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve announced on Tuesday that it will conduct a third round of stress tests to determine if major U.S. banks can withstand a downturn in the economy.

The latest round of tests comes at a time when many are concerned about U.S. banks' exposure to the European debt crisis, which could throw that region into a recession and rattle global financial markets.

39. Express Scripts Notes Receive Investment Grades -

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Inc. received investment-grade ratings from three firms on up to $10 billion in senior notes it plans to issue to help pay for its $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions Inc.

40. Tenn. to Sell Estimated $584 Million in Bonds -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The state of Tennessee plans to sell an estimated $584 million worth of bonds this week, the largest sale in the state's history.

The sale Tuesday through Thursday will use some of the proceeds to pay for new capital projects and infrastructure. These include economic development grants for Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Wacker Chemie in Bradley County, Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville and Electrolux in Memphis.

41. Retailers Report Solid Gains for September -

NEW YORK (AP) – September offered the latest sign that Americans will shop, but only when they think they're getting a deal.

The International Council of Shopping Centers said Thursday that revenue rose 5.5 percent in September, with several retailers including Target, Limited Brands and Kohl's posting strong gains as consumers snagged discounted merchandise.

42. Haslam Cites Fiscal Strength in Tenn. Debt Ratings -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Rating agencies have decided not to downgrade Tennessee's debt after the state submitted a game plan for how each agency would respond to deep federal spending cuts.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday cited a "proven history of fiscal responsibility" in announcing that Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have reissued their top ratings to Tennessee and that the state will remain one notch below Standard and Poor's best grade.

43. US Report Cites Flaws at Credit Rating Agencies -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. securities regulators say their first annual review of the nation's credit rating agencies finds the rating companies aren't doing enough to protect their own financial integrity.

44. Fitch Affirms Debt Ratings for FedEx -

CHICAGO (AP) – Fitch Ratings on Friday affirmed the debt ratings for FedEx Corp. and its Federal Express Corp. unit, a day after the package delivery company reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter results.

45. First Horizon, Fitch Say Risk Manageable -

Bryan Jordan, the president and CEO of First Tennessee Bank’s parent company, told his audience at an industry conference a few days ago in New York City that his company has been out of the mortgage business for three years now.

46. Tennessee Officials Meet With Ratings Agencies in NYC -

A group of Tennessee officials including Gov. Bill Haslam, finance commissioner Mark Emkes, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and others have wrapped up two days of meetings with the three major credit rating agencies in New York City.

47. S&P Chief Resigns; Hedge Fund Seeks Parent Split -

NEW YORK (AP) – Standard & Poor's wild month continues.

The president of S&P is stepping down just two weeks after the rating agency stripped the United States of its AAA credit rating. At the same time, an activist hedge fund is calling for S&P's parent to break into four separate companies to unlock more value for shareholders.

48. Fitch Ratings Keeps US at Top Credit Rating -

NEW YORK (AP) – Fitch Ratings said Tuesday it will keep its rating on U.S. debt at the highest grade, AAA, and issued a "stable" outlook, meaning it expects the rating to stay there.

That's better than the other two main ratings agencies: Moody's lists the U.S. debt at AAA but says its outlook is negative. And Standard & Poor's set off a maelstrom in the stock market last week after it took its rating on the U.S. down to the second-highest grade, AA-plus, for the first time.

49. TN Finance Chief Says Budget Surplus to be Reserve -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes says Tennessee should hold on to a $28 million general fund surplus as a reserve against a potential downturn in state tax collections.

50. S&P's Beers: No 2nd Thoughts on US Downgrade -

NEW YORK (AP) – A managing director at Standard & Poor's said Monday that he has absolutely no second thoughts about the credit ratings agency's decision to cut the U.S. debt rating.

51. US Debt Downgrade Could Mean Rate Hikes for All -

NEW YORK (AP) – Lawmakers weren't able to prevent the country from losing its coveted AAA debt rating.

Although the downgrade late Friday by Standard & Poor's was historic, it wasn't entirely unexpected. The three main credit agencies, which also include Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, had warned during the fight over the debt ceiling that if Congress did not cut spending far enough, the country faced a downgrade.

52. New World Follows US Debt Downgrade -

Here we go again. Markets opened Monday, Aug. 8, with the world irreversibly changed, thanks to last week’s downgrade of U.S. debt by Standard & Poor’s from AAA to AA+. It follows last week’s wild ride for the stock market, which included stomach-churning swings for investors up through Friday, the day S&P issued the press release heard round the world after markets closed.

53. Moody's Backs US Triple-A Rating; Outlook Negative -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Moody's Investors Service said Tuesday that the United States will retain its triple-A bond rating following passage of legislation to boost the debt ceiling. But the agency put a "negative" outlook on the rating, raising the specter of a future downgrade.

54. Fitch: US Debt Deal Alone Won't Sustain AAA Rating -

NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. may have avoided a possible debt default by passing a bill to raise the country's borrowing limit. But it might not enough to maintain its coveted AAA debt rating, according to Fitch Ratings.

55. MAA Completes Offering of Senior Unsecured Notes -

Memphis-based MAA and its operating partnership, Mid-America Apartments LP, have completed an issuance of $135 million of Senior Unsecured Notes.

56. Retail Slide Sends Broad Stock Market Lower -

NEW YORK (AP) — Signs that U.S. consumer demand may be weakening led to a broad sell-off in stocks Friday, setting the market on course for its third week of losses.

Retailers Gap Inc. and Aeropostale each lost more than 15 percent after cutting their profit forecasts for the year, in part because of higher costs for raw materials. Gap's sales have been sluggish, a worrying sign for investors who are counting on shoppers to lead a recovery in consumer spending.

57. Forecast: Group Sees 2011 Retail Sales Up 4 Pct -

NEW YORK (AP) – The nation's largest retail trade group says it expects retail sales to rise 4 percent this year, the biggest increase since 2006, but shoppers are likely to remain cautious as they cope with slow job growth and rising prices.

58. Clothing Prices to Rise 10 Pct Starting in Spring -

NEW YORK (AP) — The era of falling clothing prices is ending.

Clothing prices have dropped for a decade as tame inflation and cheap overseas labor helped hold down costs. Retailers and clothing makers cut frills and experimented with fabric blends to cut prices during the recession.

59. Sears Closure Will Affect Nearly 100 Workers -

Sears has informed the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the closure of its store at 3344 Austin Peay Highway, which the retailer announced in January, will affect 91 workers.

60. Sears Closure Will Affect Nearly 100 Workers -

Sears has informed the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the closure of its store at 3344 Austin Peay Highway, which the retailer announced in January, will affect 91 workers.

61. Credit Card Problems Ebbed in December -

NEW YORK (AP) — Fewer credit card accounts slipped into default in December than in any other month of 2010, and signs point to further improvement ahead.

All six of the biggest card issuers Tuesday posted their lowest rates for charge-offs, or accounts written off as uncollectible. Citibank, which has had some of the highest charge-off rates over the past two years, posted the biggest decline. It wrote off 8.34 percent of its card balances in December, down from 9.4 percent in November and well below the high of 11.55 percent posted in March.

62. December Increase Seals Strong Holiday for Retail -

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers sealed their strongest holiday sales increase since 2006, as a robust November more than offset spending that tapered off in December.

The results reported Thursday suggest steadily improving consumer spending. For investors, whose expectations were riding high, the December figures were disappointing.

63. Spending Data Show December Sales Strong -

NEW YORK (AP) – Americans spent more on clothes, shoes, luxury goods and electronics in December than a year earlier, extending retail sales momentum that had been building since August, according to data released Wednesday.

64. Holiday Shoppers Sprint to End; Retail Revenue Up -

NEW YORK (AP) – Holiday shoppers are racing to the end of the season at a more feverish pace this year, with retail revenue up 5.5 percent during the last weekend before Christmas.

The figure, released by ShopperTrak on Wednesday, is a drastic improvement from the same weekend last year, when revenue dropped 6.2 percent. The final shopping weekend last year was marred by a big East Coast snowstorm.

65. Recipe for a Rally Cocktail -

Rally Cocktail Few things provide more cheer and meaning for the holiday season than a market rally. For those interested in the recipe for the current one, here are the key ingredients:

66. Jobless Claims Rise, But Trend Shows Improvement -

WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the broader trend in layoffs points to a slowly healing job market. The average over the past month fell to a two-year low.

67. Holiday Shoppers Came Out to Spend in November -

NEW YORK (AP) – Generous discounts lured American to stores and online for holiday gifts in November, providing cheer and delivering the best gains for retailers in four years.

That raises hopes, already buoyed by reports of crowded malls and early numbers, for a strong holiday shopping season and is an encouraging sign for the economic recovery.

68. Shadows of Doubt -

As the housing market continues to improve, a significant backlog of foreclosed and distressed properties that have not been put on the market could bring the recovery to a screeching halt.

Many lenders across the nation – mostly banks – are struggling to keep up with the overwhelming number of borrowers who have stopped making their mortgage payments. And with the fledgling recovery in housing still weak, banks, institutional investors and even some homeowners who want to sell their homes are waiting until the market shows marked improvement.

69. Credit Card Writedowns Continue Decline in October -

NEW YORK (AP) – The ability of credit card holders to pay off debt has shown sustained improvement this year and on Monday the top U.S. credit card issuers said that trend continued in October.

70. Heavy Discounts Fuel Only Modest Retail Gains -

NEW YORK (AP) – Americans took a pause in shopping in October, leaving retailers with their weakest peformance since April as unsually warm weather depressed their appetite for cold weather items.

71. Foreclosure Freeze Could Undermine Housing Market -

NEW YORK (AP) – Karl Case, the co-creator of a widely watched housing market index, was upbeat three weeks ago. Mulling the economy while at a meeting at a resort near the Berkshires, Case thought the makings of a recovery were finally falling into place.

72. Retailers Report September Boost -

NEW YORK (AP) – Retailers reported surprisingly solid sales gains for September, boosted by back-to-school shopping, much of it pushed into September by parents who had put off trips to the mall.

73. Unemployment Claims Drop for 4th Time in 5 Weeks -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Applications for unemployment benefits fell last week for the fourth time in five weeks, a sign that layoffs are declining.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 445,000. It's the lowest level since the week ending July 10.

74. Holiday Hiring Picture Gets a Bit Merrier -

NEW YORK (AP) – The holiday hiring picture looks a bit merrier this year.

Macy's, Toys R Us, Pier 1, American Eagle Outfitters and Borders all plan to hire more temporary holiday workers this year than last, emboldened by several months of sales gains and a slowly improving economy.

75. Gov't Says Banks Should Share Fannie, Freddie Costs -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The nation's largest banks have an obligation to pay some of the cost for bailing out mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they sold them bad mortgages, a government regulator said Wednesday.

76. Discounts Spur Surprising Aug. Retail Sales Gains -

NEW YORK (AP) – American shoppers, taking advantage of deep discounts and tax-free holidays, opened up their wallets a little more for back-to-school spending compared with last year, giving some retailers better-than expected gains for August.

77. SEC Warns Agencies Against Deceptive Ratings -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators are warning credit rating agencies that they could face civil fraud charges for giving inaccurate ratings to investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the warning Tuesday in a report on its investigation into a possible violation of the law by Moody's Investors Service, one of the three big rating agencies. The SEC said it will not pursue Moody's for civil fraud because of uncertainty over jurisdiction.

78. FDIC Takes Step Toward Cutting Use Of Ratings -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators have taken a first step toward eliminating the use of credit ratings in rules for banks, under a mandate of the new financial overhaul law.

The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted Tuesday to take public comment on alternatives to relying on credit rating agencies to assess the risk of investments.

79. Bredesen, Others Meeting With Credit Agencies -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Phil Bredesen has been meeting with three credit rating agencies this week in New York.

He and members of the State Funding Board had meetings scheduled with Fitch Ratings Ltd., Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s to discuss Tennessee's bond rating.

80. New Claims for Jobless Benefits Rise to 479K -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Initial requests for jobless benefits rose last week to their highest level since April, a sign that hiring in the U.S. remains weak and some companies are still cutting workers.

81. A Piece-by-Piece Guide to Financial Overhaul Law -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years after the global financial system nearly collapsed, a vast revamping of regulation has been signed into law. The measure targets the risky banking and oversight failures that led to the last crisis. The goal is to make another crisis less likely — and, if it does happen, less costly for taxpayers.

82. Americans Spend More in May, See Incomes Rise -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans spent a little more in May but not enough to speed along the economic recovery.

Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month after no change in April, the Commerce Department said Monday.

83. Retail Sales Drop 1.2 Percent in May -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Retail sales plunged in May by the largest amount in eight months as consumers slashed spending on everything from cars to clothing. The big drop raises new worries about the durability of the economic recovery.

84. Retailers' Reports Show Tepid May for Shoppers -

NEW YORK (AP) - Americans, uninspired by cool weather and feeling fresh concerns about the economy, spent with caution in May after a tepid April.

Retailers' May sales reports, released Thursday, underscore how fragile the consumer spending recovery remains.

85. Big Draw -

Now showing: Shrek the Third, a kid-friendly flick about a green grouchy ogre voiced by funnyman Mike Myers.

The setting: an amphitheater-like park surrounded by clothing stores, a jeweler and an ice cream shop.

86. AP Source: NY AG Probing 8 Banks Over Securities -

NEW YORK (AP) — New York's attorney general has launched an investigation into eight banks to determine whether they misled ratings agencies about mortgage securities, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.

87. SEC Seeks Tighter Rules on Asset-Backed Securities -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators proposed new, stricter rules Wednesday for asset-backed securities, the bundles of loans that helped spark the market's collapse in 2008 and nearly brought down the financial system.

88. Retailers Report 4th Consecutive Month of Gains -

NEW YORK (AP) - Warmer weather and an earlier Easter enticed shoppers into stores for spring merchandise in March, helping retailers post strong sales gains for the month.

Discounter Target Corp., department store Macy's Inc., clothier Gap Inc. and Victoria's Secret parent Limited Brands Inc. posted double-digit increases that beat Wall Street analysts' expectations.

89. Consumers Slowly Show Signs of Springing Back -

NEW YORK (AP) - Signs of life in consumer spending are sprouting this spring.

A partial rebound in consumer confidence, a positive report on January home prices and an expected strong March from retailers suggest Americans are cautiously perking up.

90. Miss. Agencies Approved For Employee Furloughs -

The Mississippi state Personnel Board on Thursday approved furloughs up to six days for employees of the Department of Public Safety.

Lynn Fitch, the board’s executive director, told The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger that the Mississippi State Tax Commission and Department of Agriculture and Commerce were each approved for personnel furloughs of four to 12 days.

91. Retailers Report Strong Gains for February -

NEW YORK (AP) - Shoppers shrugged off the snow and worries about the economy to buy spring clothing and other items at the nation's malls, resulting in the strongest retail sales gain since November 2007, a month before the recession started.

92. New Data: Most Retail Sectors Saw Gains in Feb. -

NEW YORK (AP) — Most retail sectors including electronics and luxury items saw sales gains in February, data released Wednesday show, though snowstorms that shut in shoppers also chilled sales at women's clothing stores.

93. December Retail Sales Show Signs of Life -

NEW YORK (AP) - Last-minute holiday shoppers brought relief to the nation's retailers, handing them modest sales gains for the season and prompting several chains to raise their fourth-quarter profit outlooks.

94. Broadcasters' Woes Could Spell Trouble for Free TV -

NEW YORK (AP) - For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.

The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.

95. Economic News Raises Hopes for Global Recovery -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Signs of a strengthening global recovery emerged Friday, with consumers boosting retail sales, companies restoring stockpiles and Chinese exports mounting a comeback.

The reports heightened hopes that consumers are starting to feel more comfortable about opening their wallets after months of building savings and reducing debt. Consumer spending, which drives most U.S. economic activity, is vital to a sustained rebound.

96. SEC Targets Rating Agencies' Role in Meltdown -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement chief says his staff is targeting Wall Street rating agencies and their role in the financial meltdown.

The three dominant agencies – Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings – have been widely criticized for failing to give investors adequate warning of the risks in subprime mortgage securities, whose collapse touched off the financial crisis.

97. Consumer Borrowing Falls for 9th Straight Month -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans borrowed less for a record ninth straight month in October, another sign that consumer spending will remain weak, making it harder for the economy to mount a sustained rebound.

98. Stocks Jump After G-20 Pledge to Aid Economies -

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks jumped to new highs for the year Monday as the dollar extended its slide, boosting prices for commodities including gold and oil. Energy and materials stocks led the market higher.

99. Fitch Reviews Whether to Cut Berkshire Rating -

CHICAGO (AP) - Fitch Ratings warned Thursday that Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s deal for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. could overexpose Warren Buffett's company to weaknesses in the economy at the expense of its more durable investments.

100. Health Care Reform Bill Could Cost Tenn. $735M -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said Tuesday a health care reform proposal in the U.S. Senate could cost the state more than $730 million.

Bredesen spoke to reporters during a teleconference from New York where he met with all three national credit ratings agencies about the state's bonding rate.