Business events scheduled for the coming week

Labor Department releases employment data for January, 8:30 a.m.; Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for December, 3 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for December, 10 a.m.; Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover survey for December, 10 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Commerce Department releases international trade for December, 8:30 a.m.; Treasury releases federal budget for January, 2 p.m.; Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on cybercrime and identity theft.

WASHINGTON — Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases retail sales for January, 8:30 a.m.; Commerce Department releases business inventories for December, 10 a.m.; Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, releases weekly mortgage rates.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. [Read the full article]

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Toyota said Thursday it is evaluating brake problems with the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid, but no decision has been made about a recall.

Earlier Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it opened an investigation into the car, the best selling hybrid in the U.S., citing 124 reports it received from consumers about its brakes, including four crashes. The government is looking into complaints that antilock brakes can fail momentarily on some 2010 models in slippery conditions or on rough roads.

The company says it made a change in the 2010 braking system last month to correct cars in production. The company has not made a decision about cars on the road.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks buckled Thursday under the growing belief that the global economy is weaker than many investors expected and likely to stop companies from hiring. The Dow Jones industrials briefly traded below 10,000 for the first time in three months. [Read the full article]

An analyst upgraded Best Buy Co. and hhgregg Inc. Friday, saying the consumer electronics retailers will likely benefit from new advances in televisions that will increase traffic.

Janney Capital Markets’ David Strasser said in a client note that the television sales did suffer a slowdown after the holidays but believes this year’s crop of 3D televisions, Internet televisions and lower-priced light-emitting diode (LED) televisions will bring customers back.

Strasser likes Best Buy’s appealing stock price and boosted the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer’s rating to “Buy” from “Neutral.”

Strasser also thinks that hhgregg stands to gain from improving appliance sales and a broader mix of personal computers. Strasser lifted the rating for the company, based in Indianapolis, to “Buy” from “Neutral.”

On Thursday hhgregg said its fiscal third-quarter profit climbed on higher sales and lower operating expenses to top analysts’ expectations. [Read the full article]

Four hotel companies have taken adequate steps to deal with the economic downturn, according to an analyst report Friday.

Baird’s David Loeb raised his ratings on the companies, saying occupancy levels are likely to grow and a key revenue figure could improve before year’s end.

Loeb lifted Choice Hotels International Inc., Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC and Marcus Corp. to “Outperform” from “Neutral.” He also raised the rating of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. to “Neutral” from “Underperform.”

In a client note, Loeb said Choice, Intercontinental and Marcus all have attractive stock prices and balance sheets that have prepared them to deal with economic uncertainty this year.

The lodging sector has struggled during the recession as businesses and vacationers postpone travel or take shorter trips to save money. [Read the full article]

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