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Resell jeans? Resale value goes beyond used cars

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans increasingly are considering the resale value when they shop for everything from jeans to handbags.

It's the latest reflection of the tough economy.

The habit became popular in the recession and has stuck during the economic recovery as people have gotten used to being able to wear the latest fashions without paying top dollar. The trend is also a consequence of the escalating cost of luxury, rising prices of designer merchandise in recent years have tested the willingness of even affluent shoppers to pay full price.

The size of the resale market is tiny: about 10 per cent of overall luxury goods with about one per cent of pre-worn goods sold online, estimates Forrester Research's Sucharita Mulpuru.

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Panama president-elect promises price controls

PANAMA CITY (AP) — President-elect Juan Carlos Varela prides himself on a successful business career before entering politics. Yet when the conservative politician takes office in July he's promising to implement an economic policy from the playbook of the late Venezuelan socialist Hugo Chavez: price controls.

The economy of this Central American country has soared during the past five years and unemployment is at a record low, but frustration with the high cost of living has been building among Panama's 3.4 million people.

Doing something about rising prices, especially for food, was Varela's top campaign pledge and his first order of business in office will be to sign a decree imposing emergency price controls on 22 basic goods, everything from rice and eggs to cuts of meat.

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Netflix raises prices by a $1 for new subscribers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is raising its Internet video prices by $1 per month for new customers and giving its current U.S. subscribers a two-year break from the higher rates.

The changes mean anyone signing up for Netflix's video subscription service beginning Friday will pay $9 per month for in the U.S. The old price of $8 per month will continue until May 2016 for Netflix's existing 36 million U.S. subscribers.

The price increase, Netflix's first in nearly three years, isn't surprise. The Los Gatos, California-based company disclosed its plans to raise its rates last month without specifying the precise amount.

Netflix Inc. say its needs more money so it can afford to pay for more original programming.

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US job openings slip in March after strong gain

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs and slowed hiring a bit in March, though the declines came after healthy gains the previous month. The figures suggest the job market is improving in fits and starts.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers posted 4 million jobs in March, down 2.7 per cent from February. But February's total nearly matched November's for the highest level of openings since January 2008, when the Great Recession was just beginning.

The report also showed that February's data for hiring and quits was revised much higher, indicating that the job market was in better shape that month than initially estimated.

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House votes to make research tax credit permanent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted Friday to make permanent a tax credit that rewards businesses for investing in research and development, pushing Congress toward an election-year showdown over a series of expired tax breaks that are popular back home but add billions to the budget deficit.

The research tax credit expired at the beginning of the year, along with more than 50 other temporary tax breaks that Congress routinely extends.

House Republicans said Friday's vote was the beginning of a broader effort to add more certainty to the tax code. In the coming weeks, they hope to vote on bills to make more temporary tax breaks permanent, though they have yet to decide on which ones.

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Ford recalls more than 692,000 vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling more than 692,000 Escape small SUVs and C-Max gas-electric hybrids in North America to fix two safety problems.

The recalls cover vehicles from the 2013 and 2014 model years.

The first case covers 692,500 Escape and C-Max vehicles. A software glitch can stop the side curtain air bags from inflating in certain types of rollover crashes. The company says it has no reports of crashes or injuries. Dealers will reprogram the air bag control computer for free.

The second case covers about 692,700 Escapes. Exterior door handles can bind and stop the door from latching properly. This could allow doors to open while the SUVs are in motion.

Dealers will inspect the handles and reposition them if needed. No crashes or injuries have been reported.

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US wholesale stockpiles rise 1.1 per cent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles in March by the largest amount in five months while sales increased at the fastest clip in 10 months.

Wholesale stockpiles rose 1.1 per cent in March after a 0.7 per cent gain in February, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the ninth consecutive monthly gain and the largest increase since a 1.2 per cent rise in October.

Sales at the wholesale level were up 1.4 per cent, the best showing since a 1.9 per cent rise in May 2013.

The sizable gain in sales should encourage businesses to keep restocking their shelves to meet rising demand. That will mean increased orders to factories and rising production which would boost economic growth.

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Chrysler recalls minivans over window switch

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group is recalling 780,000 minivans to replace window switches that can short-circuit and overheat if exposed to moisture.

The company said Friday that it knows of 36 incidents related to the faulty switches, but is unaware of any related injuries or accidents.

The switches, located on the driver-side door, can short circuit due to moisture from rain, snow or when the car is washed, as well as from beverages spilled on the switch. The company will pay to replace the switch.

Chrysler says the recall involves certain 2010 through 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans.

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Detergent pulled in Germany over neo-Nazi code

BERLIN (AP) — Procter & Gamble has apologized for "any false connotations" after stirring anger in Germany for unintentionally placing a neo-Nazi code on promotional packages for its Ariel laundry detergent.

Outraged shoppers had posted pictures online of Ariel powder boxes featuring a white soccer jersey with a large number "88." The number is sensitive because far-right extremists in Germany often use it as a code to skirt a ban on the use of Nazi slogans in public: since "H'' is the eighth letter of the alphabet, "88" represents the phrase "Heil Hitler." Similarly, "18" is used to stand for "A.H." or Adolf Hitler.

Procter & Gamble acknowledged Friday that the number was "unintentionally ambiguous."

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McDonald's tests seasoned french fries

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's says it plans to start testing seasoned french fries at select U.S. locations starting Friday.

The world's biggest hamburger chain says the test of its "Shakin' Flavor Fries" will take place at restaurants in northern California and St. Louis. Customers will be able to choose garlic Parmesan, spicy Buffalo or zesty ranch flavours.

McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb says the idea came from the company's "Shake Shake" seasoned fries, which debuted in Hong Kong in 2005 before spreading to countries including China, India and Australia.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average edged up 32.37 points, or 0.2 per cent, to close at 16,583.34. The S&P 500 index rose 2.85 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,878.48. The Nasdaq composite rose 20.37 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,071.87.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery fell 27 cents to close at $99.99 a barrel in New York. Wholesale gasoline fell 0.9 cents to close at $2.896 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.3 cents to close at $2.907 a gallon. Natural gas fell 4.1 cents to close at $4.531 per 1,000 cubic feet. Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 15 cents to close at $107.89 in London.

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