Fund manager likely wishes he'd heeded Buffett on gold

NEW YORK - Investors including hedge-fund manager John Paulson faced losses this week as gold suffered its biggest rout in three decades. Warren Buffett told them there were better places to put their money.

The billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway cautioned against investing in the metal in February 2012, when an ounce sold for more than $1,700, because it's not productive like a farm or a company. Gold fell 14 percent to $1,348.21 in the two trading days through April 15, the biggest decline since 1983, and wiped out almost $1 billion in Paulson's wealth.

"What motivates most gold purchasers is their belief that the ranks of the fearful will grow," Buffett wrote last year in a letter to shareholders. "As 'bandwagon' investors join any party, they create their own truth - for a while."

Buffett, 82, has said his preference is to build Berkshire by investing in companies, such as chemical maker Lubrizol Corp., which he bought in 2011. Since his comments about gold, his firm has struck a deal with Jorge Paulo Lemann's 3G Capital to take HJ Heinz Co. private, acquired more than two dozen daily newspapers, bought retailer Oriental Trading and added to its $87.7 billion stock portfolio.

American Airlines resumes most flights after glitch

DALLAS - American Airlines resumed most flights Wednesday, a day after a massive technology failure forced the nation's third-largest carrier to ground all planes from coast to coast. Some lingering problems remained.

Fed survey cites housing, auto sales as strengths

WASHINGTON - A strengthening housing recovery and robust auto sales contributed to moderate economic growth across the United States in late February and March, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.

Growth was moderate or modest in all of the Fed's 12 banking districts, and it accelerated in two - New York and Dallas - from January and early February.

The survey suggested that the economy performed better in March than some government data on hiring and consumer spending had indicated. That could mean the economic weakness might have been temporary.

Hog-production glut entering fifth straight year

CHICAGO - U.S. hog farmers are poised to produce a record amount of pork at a time when exports are slumping the most in more than a decade, prolonging a global glut into a fifth consecutive year, the U.S. Agriculture Department says.

Futures may drop 19 percent to 72 cents a pound by the end of the year on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, based on the median of nine trader and analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Farmers are expanding output because costs are dropping as grain prices tumble from records set during last year's drought.

IMF urges Fed, central banks to closely monitor stimulus

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund is urging the Federal Reserve and other central banks to closely monitor their extraordinary efforts to jump-start economic growth, warning that the policies could inflate asset bubbles and destabilize financial markets.

The global lending organization says there are few signs of asset price bubbles yet, however.

The Associated Press; Bloomberg News