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Wholesale stockpiles rose at slower pace in March

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. wholesalers increased their stockpiles more slowly in March after seeing less growth in sales.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that wholesale stockpiles increased 0.3 percent in March from February, just one-third of the previous monthly increase. Monthly sales rose 0.5 percent in March, about half the gain from the previous month.

Growth in restocking has slowed this year from the end of last year, contributing less to economic growth in the January-March quarter.

Businesses order more goods when they increase their stockpiles. That typically leads to more factory production and economic growth.

It would take five weeks to exhaust all wholesale stockpiles at the March sales pace. That's considered a healthy time frame and suggests businesses will keep restocking to meet demand.


United changes pet policy

United Airlines, in response to customer feedback that included an online petition, has changed its pet-restriction policy. It no longer bans nine breeds of dogs from being transported on United flights.

Chicago-based United, which merged with Continental Airlines, adopted Continental's PetSafe program March 3. It has a number of perks for flying dogs and cats.

But the program also used what critics called "canine profiling," restricting dogs from flying on United flights based solely on their breed -- a restriction the former United Airlines didn't have. The nine restricted breeds were: pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, ca de bou, cane corso, dogo Argentino, fila Brasileiro, perro de presa canario, presa canario and tosa (or tosa ken).

The policy prompted an online petition at that received nearly 46,000 signatures.

-- Chicago Tribune


Mortgage delinquencies fall

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The percentage of U.S. homeowners behind on their mortgage payments dropped in the first three months of this year to the lowest level since 2009, according to a new report.

Credit reporting agency Trans-

Union said Wednesday that 5.78 percent of the nation's mortgage holders were behind on their payments by 60 days or more in January-March.

That's down from 6.19 percent in the same period last year and below the 6.01 percent delinquency rate for the last three months of 2011.

The decline in the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate follows two quarters of increases.


Honda wins appeal of award

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A judge overturned a nearly $10,000 small-claims judgment against American Honda Motor Co. that was won by a car owner who said the automaker misrepresented that her hybrid Civic could get 50 miles per gallon, according to a ruling released Wednesday.

Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray II ruled Tuesday on Honda's appeal of a court commissioner's award of $9,867 to Heather Peters.

Peters had opted out of a class-action settlement giving about 200,000 owners between $100 and $200 each, plus a rebate if they buy a new Honda. She elected instead to sue the automaker on her own.


Fannie Mae reports profit

WASHINGTON -- Fannie Mae on Wednesday reported a first-quarter profit and -- for the first time since the government seized it in 2008 -- does not need a quarterly infusion of taxpayer money.

The company's $2.7 billion profit was the giant housing finance company's largest since the housing bubble burst in 2007 and is another signal that the real estate market finally might have hit bottom.

"It's certainly a positive indication that if we haven't turned the corner, we're pretty darn close to turning the corner," said Susan McFarland, Fannie Mae's chief financial officer.

-- Los Angeles Times