ASU weighs spending $130M for law school

PHOENIX - Arizona State University wants to spend about $130 million for a new downtown law school, even though the university president acknowledges that moving the school is financially untenable.

To move ahead with the plan, the university would have to significantly increase law-school enrollment, raise tuition, enhance quality and launch a series of master's degree programs.

ASU President Michael Crow told the Arizona Republic the university is weighing whether a new, downtown Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law passes financial muster. Crow said the university will move forward only if officials have high confidence the project will succeed.

That isn't stopping planning for the move. The university obtained Arizona Board of Regents approval Thursday for a capital improvement plan that includes $129 million toward construction of a 294,000-square-foot law school in downtown Phoenix.

The facility would replace the current, smaller law school at the ASU main campus in Tempe.

The complex would be built on a parking lot that formerly was the site of a Ramada Inn between the existing ASU nursing and journalism schools.

Economic tea leaves show a mixed picture

WASHINGTON - A spate of data Thursday painted a mixed picture of the U.S. economy: Demand for long-lasting manufactured goods fell, and slightly fewer people signed contracts to buy homes.

At the same time, the job market looked only a little better.

Taken together, the reports suggest the economy is growing only modestly and not quickly enough to spur much hiring.

Yet a peek beneath the headlines, and a separate report on applications for unemployment aid, suggested that the economy is sturdier than it might appear.

A GDP revision was mostly a result of the Midwest drought, and the drop in orders for long-lasting goods was mostly attributable to a plunge in volatile aircraft orders.

30-year mortgages again hit record low

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell again to new record lows. The decline suggests the Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts may be having an impact on mortgage rates.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.40 percent. That's down from last week's rate of 3.49 percent, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, fell to 2.73 percent, down from the record low of 2.77 percent last week.

Facebook launches gift-sending service

Facebook is rolling out a service called Gifts which, as its name suggests, lets users send chocolate, coffee, socks and other real-life presents to one another.

Facebook Gifts launched Thursday to a subset of users in the U.S. and will roll out to more over the coming months as people begin to send gifts.

Users will be able to click on a "gifts" icon on their Facebook friends' pages on Facebook's website or on Android mobile phones. (IPhone and iPad versions are coming soon.)

The icon will also show up on the right side of users' Facebook pages with the notifications for friends' birthdays, weddings and other life events.

Clicking the icon will display presents you can buy, such as a Starbucks gift card, cupcakes or a teddy bear.

The recipient will be notified through Facebook to enter a shipping address for the presents.

In some cases, they'll be able to select their own cupcake flavors or size and style of socks. They can also exchange gifts for other items.

The move represents Facebook Inc.'s first real foray into e-commerce. The company will take an unspecified cut from each item sold. On Thursday, possible gifts included gourmet ice cream, Andy Warhol prints, flowers, organic dog toys and spa packages.

Move sought in case of Navajo trademarks

FLAGSTAFF - Urban Outfitters Inc. and other defendants in a case alleging trademark infringement say moving it to Pennsylvania where their corporate headquarters are located would be in the best interest of justice.

The Navajo Nation sued the corporations in February, alleging they violated trademarks on the Navajo name that cover clothing and other items.

The case is pending in U.S. District Court in New Mexico.

The Associated Press