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New York business activity declines; other business briefs


Business activity index dips

Manufacturing conditions in New York State declined in January for the sixth consecutive month, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, a report of state manufacturing activity compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The general business conditions index for January fell to negative 7.8, a slight drop from December's reading of negative 7.3. A reading below zero indicates that business activity is contracting. Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected a negative 0.2 reading for the index. Many had expected manufacturing conditions to strengthen after superstorm Sandy battered the region in late October. The manufacturing survey for New York serves as an early indicator on overall U.S. manufacturing conditions for the month. -- Lisa Du


Wholesale prices down again

U.S. wholesale prices fell for the third month in a row last month, pushed down by falling food and gas costs. The drop is the latest evidence inflation is tame. The producer price index dropped 0.2 percent in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That follows a decline of 0.8 percent in November. The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer. Wholesale prices rose 1.3 percent in 2012, much lower than the 4.7 percent increase in 2011. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices ticked up 0.1 percent in December. They rose 2 percent in 2012, below a 3 percent increase in 2011. Low inflation means consumers have more money to spend, which helps the economy.

No new investment in guns

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is freezing investment by the public workers' pension fund in firearms companies following recent shooting tragedies. DiNapoli says he has directed that the massive pension fund not buy any new stock in firearms manufacturers following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The Democrat says the tragedy makes it clear that firearms makers face legal hurdles and damage to their reputations that could hurt the state's investment. New York passed tough new gun control laws Tuesday. The pension fund has about $2 million invested in Sturm, Ruger & Co. An outside manager sold the pension fund's share of Smith & Wesson in December.

Chrysler expanding in China

Fiat, Chrysler and a Chinese automaker announced Tuesday that they have signed an agreement to expand vehicle manufacturing in China and produce the Jeep for sale in that market. The companies said the deal was signed at Chrysler Group Llc's headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. It was announced as Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (GAC Group) discussed its plans during media days at the North American International Auto Show. The companies say the venture's next step will be to build Jeeps in China for the Chinese market. Jeep already sells several models in China, including Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Compass, but they are imported.

Cameleon, Donkey stroller recall

Bugaboo International is recalling more than 46,000 of its Cameleon and Donkey strollers in the United States because its handle can detach and cause an injury to a child. The company, whose high-end strollers are popular in both urban areas and suburbs, said Tuesday that a button on the stroller's carry handle can become disengaged and cause the handle to detach. That could mean a young passenger could fall or choke. Bugaboo has received 58 reports of carry handles detaching. No injuries have been reported. The Cameleon stroller was sold between September 2009 and June 2012 for about $980. The Donkey stroller was sold from January 2011 through December 2012, for $1,200 to $1,600.

-- AP

State & Region