Phoenix's mayor tries to recruit Calif. tech firms

PHOENIX - Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants businesses in Silicon Valley to relocate to Arizona. Stanton traveled to California this week to sell Phoenix as a prime location for technology and manufacturing jobs. His office would not say which companies he is approaching because the meetings are confidential.

US economy sees gains, according to 3 reports

WASHINGTON - In U.S. economic reports Tuesday:

• Americans are more optimistic that the job market is healing and will deliver higher pay later this year, says a gauge of consumer confidence by the Conference Board, a private research group. They like the rising home prices and cheaper gas, too.

• U.S. home prices rose 9.3 percent in February compared with a year ago, the most in nearly seven years, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index shows. Phoenix led with an annual gain of 23 percent in February. (Tucson isn't included in the index.)

• Americans' wages increased at 0.5 percent January through March, a faster rate than the previous quarter. But benefits barely grew, the Labor Department said.

Star's parent company refinances some debt

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Newspaper publishing company Lee Enterprises Inc. said Tuesday that it has refinanced $94 million worth of debt with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

As part of the financing deal, Lee added as collateral its 50 percent stake in the Tucson agency that publishes the Arizona Daily Star and Gannett holds the agency's other stake.

Lee said the refinancing reduces the interest to a fixed rate of 9 percent, down from 11.3 percent (while avoiding interest rate increases in 2014 and 2015), and extends the maturity from December 2015 to April 2017.

Lee said it is paying off debt ahead of schedule. Its debt stands at $893 million, the level it predicted it would reach in September 2014. Lee ended a brief stint under bankruptcy protection in January 2012. Its debt includes $624 million due in December 2015.

Asarco parent may split into 3 units due to reforms

Mexican miner and infrastructure company Grupo Mexico, parent of Tucson-based Asarco, may split into three listed units to capitalize on economic reforms planned by the government, Reuters reports. In a conference call Tuesday with investors, its chief financial officer, Daniel Muniz, did not give any specific timetable, Reuters said.

Grupo Mexico, which reported a 15.4 percent decline in first-quarter profits, has discussed listing its fully owned subsidiary Americas Mining Corp. (which includes Asarco) on the London or Toronto bourse, Muniz said.

The Associated Press