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Short-term T-bill rates rise to 0.16 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction to the highest levels in several weeks.

The Treasury Department auctioned $28 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.160 percent, up from 0.115 percent last week. Another $28 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.215 percent, up from 0.170 percent last week.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,995.95 while a six-month bill sold for $9,989.13. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.162 percent for the three-month bills and 0.218 percent for the six-month bills.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, slipped to 0.29 percent last week from 0.30 percent the previous week.


Gas prices up, still under $3

Gasoline prices continue to rise Monday as vacationers in RVs and campers join commuters on the roads during the peak summer driving season.

Pump prices likely will increase over the next couple of weeks but fall short of $3 per gallon in most states. Analysts note that demand remains lackluster while supplies are ample. And consumers worried about the economy may keep traveling to a minimum.

The national average for retail gasoline prices rose 0.1 cent to $2.756 a gallon Monday, according to Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's an increase of 11.3 cents from a year ago.

In the Buffalo Niagara region, a gallon of regular cost $2.86 on Monday, down 10 cents from a month ago.


Verizon cuts Kin phone cost

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone company, cut the price of its two Microsoft Corp. Kin models today about a month after the phones' release.

The Kin One now sells for $29.99, down from $49.99, with a $100 discount and a two-year contract, according to Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Verizon's Web site. The price of the Kin Two, which has a larger screen and takes sharper photos, has been reduced to $49.99 from $99.99, according to the site.

The phones, released in stores May 13, are Microsoft's attempt to regain share in the smartphone market after losing sales to phones from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. Before the Kin, Microsoft had previously only developed software for phones, rather than design them.

-- Bloomberg News


Deal on Philadelphia papers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A judge has cleared the way for Philadelphia's two major newspapers to emerge from bankruptcy protection, despite objections from pension officials.

Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Raslavich ruled Monday that a reorganization plan filed with the court is in the best interest of creditors.

He says the new owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News did not assume liability for employee pension funds when they won the papers at an auction in April.

Attorneys for the funds had contended there is an estimated $174 million "withdrawal liability" for ending contributions.

Local investors purchased the papers in 2006 for $515 million, but ran aground amid industrywide revenue declines.

The creditors bought the papers for $139 million.


Siemens AG sets up bank

BERLIN (AP) -- German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG plans to set up a bank of its own in an effort to reduce risks of financing difficulties following the economic crisis, the company said Monday.

Siemens aims to expand the product portfolio of its financial services unit -- boosting the sales finance area, adding flexibility to the group's financing and optimizing its risk management, spokesman Marc Langendorf said.

However, it won't provide retail banking services.

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