April 3 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks fall as investors re-think Fed stimulus hopes; U.S. auto sales have best three months since 2008; Research in Motion launches new software to please Apple, Android users amid falling BlackBerry market share. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street struggled for most of the day, with the Federal Reserve adding pressure late in the session. Minutes from the Fed's March 13th meeting show policymakers were less concerned about the U.S. economic recovery, and therefore appear less willing to add additional stimulus. New sales numbers from the auto industry show how the recovery is moving along. U.S. auto sales surged more than 15 percent in March, according to preliminary data, capping the biggest quarterly sales jump since 2008. Gas prices are impacting sales, but not in a way one would think. Analysts say higher prices are encouraging Americans to switch to newer, more fuel efficient models. Research in Motion is providing new software called Mobile Fusion. The software will allow large enterprise customers the benefits of RIM's secure network without actually using a BlackBerry smartphone. This is in response to business customers who want to get company emails but want to use an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. But that benefit comes with a price: RIM is charging companies $99 per user, plus a $4 a month fee. RIM's new software announcement came on the same day ComScore said RIM's market share dropped 3 percent during the 3 months ended in February. Back to Wall Street...stocks closed off their lows, but down nonetheless as the thought of more Fed easing disappears. European investors were spooked by Spain. The government there said debt levels will be the highest in 22 years, which pushed stocks in Germany and France down by more than a percent; less in the U.K. Conway Gittens, Reuters