Retailers report strong January sales

Americans shopped the winter clearance racks in January, resulting in strong sales during the month for retailers.

But spending is expected to slow as the deals dry up, and as Americans contend with rising gas prices and a 2 percent payroll tax hike that started in January.

Overall, 20 retailers reported on Thursday that revenue at stores opened at least a year - an indicator of a store's health - rose an average of 5.1 percent, said the International Council of Shopping Centers. That's above the trade group's 3 percent estimate and is the highest reading since August.

Jobless claims decline; borrowing report is split

In reports Thursday:

• Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies continue to hire at a modest but steady pace, the Labor Department said.

• Americans stepped up borrowing in December to buy cars and attend school, but cut back sharply on credit card use, the Federal Reserve said.

Big investor sues Apple over preferred-stock plan

NEW YORK - With its annual meeting looming and its stock on the decline, Apple is facing a rebellion from an influential investor who wants the company to stop stockpiling cash and give it to shareholders instead.

Greenlight Capital said it is suing Apple over the company's proposal to eliminate the possibility of issuing preferred stock, a proposal that would close down one avenue for Apple to reward shareholders with more cash.

The Associated Press