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Business Briefs: Fed holds off on raising interest rates

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At a historic news conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered clues Wednesday about when and how the Fed would begin raising interest rates. Bernanke said that as long as the Fed continues to say rates will remain at historic lows for "an extended period," rates won't rise until the Fed has met at least twice more. Members of the Fed, which ended a two-day meeting Wednesday, gathers about every six weeks. The Fed chairman also said any additional steps by the Fed to try to lower unemployment might raise other risks, such as higher inflation. If inflation were to accelerate, it could then reduce employment. That's because the Fed would have to raise rates to reduce price increases.
Tulalip Casino offers Everett port shuttle
The Tulalip Resort Casino is offering a free shuttle service from the Port of Everett marina starting May 20. The casino will pick up passengers at the port's South Marina near Woodfire Grill and Anthony's, Port Gardner Inn, and the new Waterfront Center in the North Marina. Pickups will be at 10 a.m. and 2, 6, and 10 p.m.; departures from the resort to the marina will be at 2 and 9:40 a.m. and 1:40, 5:40; and 9:40 p.m. The service will run during the peak boating season, ending Oct. 1. The port had 5,700 visiting boaters last year.
Chevron joins rival in raising dividend
Chevron Corp. said Wednesday it is raising its quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent to 78 cents from 72 cents a share. Chevron said it will pay the higher dividend June 10 to shareholders of record May 19. The company will now pay $3.12 in annual dividends, up from $2.88. The oil company based in San Ramon, Calif., is scheduled to report its first-quarter results Friday. Chevron rival Exxon Mobil Corp. also raised its dividend Wednesday, boosting it by almost 7 percent to 47 cents per share from 44 cents a share. Exxon, which is based in Irving, Texas, said its next dividend will be paid June 10 to shareholders of record May 13.
Money tight for Walmart shoppers
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s CEO Mike Duke says rising gas prices are hurting its main customers, who are having an even harder time stretching their dollars to the next payday than they did a year ago. "There's no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact on our customers," said Duke. "There's more pressure." Wal-Mart is seeing its customers consolidate shopping trips, though they're spending more on each excursion. But shoppers are also cutting back on discretionary items, such as clothing, as their spending power erodes, Duke said. Duke also said Wal-Mart is seeing more pronounced drops in buying in the few days before the end of the month when money is tight and then a big spike in spending during the first few days of the month when many shoppers get paychecks or government assistance.
From Herald news services
Story tags » Port of EverettRetailTulalip Casino

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