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Dimon speaks at SUNY, other business briefs

Long Island

Dimon to speak at SUNY forum

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon next week will kick off a new Executive Leadership Forum series organized by SUNY Old Westbury. Dimon will discuss the global economy, the banking industry and fertile investment opportunities at the May 9 event. The forum will be held at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dimon has been the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase since 2005, leading the bank through its acquisition of Bear Stearns and the subsequent financial crisis. The bank's most recent turn in the public spotlight has stemmed from a $2 billion trading loss, known as the London Whale incident. To attend, call 516-876-3207 or email Tickets start at $150.-- Lisa Du


Higher incomes fuel spending

Americans kept increasing their spending in March and their income grew, further indication that consumers are shaking off higher taxes. The Commerce Department said yesterday that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in March from February. That followed a 0.7 percent jump in February and a 0.3 percent gain in January. Income increased 0.2 percent last month, following a gain of 1.1 percent in February. After-tax income also rose 0.2 percent. Higher income has helped offset an increase in Social Security taxes that took effect on Jan. 1. On Friday, the government said consumer spending rose from January through March at the fastest pace in more than two years. "The consumer is doing reasonably well," Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche Bank, said in a note to clients. Spending on services drove the March increase, partly due to an unseasonably cold March, which required Americans to pay more to heat their homes.

March pending home sales up

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in March to the highest level in three years. The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales rose 1.5 percent to 105.7. That's the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer's tax credit boosted sales. It's also above February's reading of 104.1. Signed contracts are 7 percent higher than they were a year earlier. There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Penney confirms financing deal

Struggling J.C. Penney yesterday confirmed that Goldman Sachs will provide it with $1.75 billion in financing. Rumors about the financing had begun to circulate Friday. The five-year loan can be used to fund the company's operations as well as pay off some of its debt. It will be secured by real estate, as well as an interest the company's other assets and some of its subsidiaries. J.C. Penney has been burning through cash. Earlier this month, it said it would draw $850 million from its $1.85 billion revolving credit line to pay for inventory. The retailer earlier this month fired its CEO, Ron Johnson, after 17 months on the job and rehired his predecessor Mike Ullman. An ambitious turnaround plan by Johnson had backfired and caused sales to plummet.

Subaru '14 Foresters recalled

Subaru is recalling just over 10,000 of its 2014 Forester wagons because the floor mats can interfere with the clutch, brake or gas pedals. The recall affects Foresters made from January 2013 through March. The company says the floor mats can curl when exposed to heat. The problem was discovered in cars arriving at a port in Vancouver, Washington. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the mats could distract the driver or interfere with operation of the car. Subaru traced the problem to improperly manufactured backing on the mats. Dealers will replace all four mats free of charge.

-- AP

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