Starwatch Consumer

Consumer confidence turns shaky

Updated: 2013-03-27T04:37:02Z

Less confidence

Americans are less confident in the economy than they were last month as massive government spending cuts have stoked economic uncertainty. The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday its reading of confidence fell in March after rebounding last month. The March confidence index fell to 59.7 from a revised reading of 68 in February. That's also below the 68.7 that analysts polled by research firm FactSet expected.

Free checking

Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s largest credit unions still offer no-strings-attached free checking accounts, Bankrate.com reports. By comparison, only about 39 percent of banks offer such accounts, the consumer financial services website said.

Individual audits down in 2012

High-income taxpayers are more likely to face an IRS audit than others, but IRS audits overall declined in 2012. New data released by the agency show the IRS audited 5.3 percent fewer taxpayers in 2012 than in 2011. The IRS audit rate for indviduals fell to 1 percent from 1.1 percent. Last eyar, the IRS audited 12.1 percent of individuals with i9ncome exceeding $1 million, down from 12.5 percent the year before.

Blood glucose meters recalled

Johnson & Johnson issued a recall for OneTouch VerioIQ blood glucose meters because when a diabetic’s blood sugar level is dangerously high, the device turns off or displays an inaccurate reading. Free replacements will be issued.

Dinosaurs

in Japan

Intensifying price competition, the growing popularity of fuel-efficient cars, falling demand for gasoline and a revised law have fueled a dramatic decline in gas stations across Japan, a drop that could have serious repercussions in areas with few stations should disaster strike. According to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, the number of gas stations in Japan peaked at 60,421 stations at the end of fiscal 1994, but has been falling since. Just 37,743 were in business at the end of fiscal 2011.

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