Retail sales rise 0.1 pct. after tax increase

Americans barely spent more last month at retail businesses and restaurants after higher taxes cut their paychecks. The small increase suggests consumer spending may be weak in the January-March quarter, which could hold back economic growth.

Retail sales ticked up 0.1 percent in January from December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That follows a 0.5 percent increase in December and is the smallest in three months.

Sales fell at auto dealerships, clothing stores and furniture stores, after big gains in each of those categories in December. Sales rose last month at home-improvement stores, gas stations and online retailers. So-called core retail sales, which exclude autos, building materials and gas stations, ticked up 0.2 percent, down from 0.6 percent in December.

Meredith eyes buying Time Warner magazines

Meredith Corp., the publisher of magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Fitness, is talking with Time Warner about buying several magazines from it, including People, InStyle and Real Simple, according to a Fortune magazine report on Wednesday.

Fortune said the talks are early and may fall apart. Time Warner and Meredith declined comment.

EU, US agree to push for trans-Atlantic deal

BRUSSELS - The European Union and the United States announced Wednesday that they have agreed to pursue talks aimed at achieving an overarching trans-Atlantic free trade deal.

The Associated Press