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Amazon increases cost of Prime to $99

Published: 3/14/14 @ 12:00


Amazon increases cost of Prime to $99

NEW YORK

Amazon is betting that shoppers will pay $20 more for its popular Prime two-day free-shipping and video- streaming service of movies and TV shows.

The mega online retailer said Thursday that it is raising the price of Prime to $99 a year as it seeks to offset rising costs to ship products to customers. It’s the first price increase since Amazon rolled out the service in 2005.

The move could please investors at a time when Amazon continues to face pressure to boost its bottom line after years of furious growth. As more Americans shop online, Amazon has spent heavily to expand its business into new areas — from movie streaming to e-readers and groceries — often at the expense of its profit.

But the price increase also threatens to scare away online shoppers who tend to resist fee increases. The company, which warned it probably would raise the price of Prime by $20 to $40 in January, is bolstering the membership program by adding more items available for two-day shipping and rolling out a greater selection of streaming TV shows and movies.

Senators reach deal on jobless benefits

WASHINGTON

A bipartisan group of senators ended a long-running election-season standoff and struck a compromise that would extend jobless benefits for 2 million Americans who have been out of work the longest, the lawmakers said Thursday.

Should the Senate approve the election-year measure — as seemed likely — it would throw the issue to the Republican-run House. Its fate there was uncertain.

The timing of a Senate vote also was unclear.

Two leaders of the negotiations —Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev. — said in a statement that the deal would be retroactive to the end of last year, when the emergency benefits program expired. Since then, the benefits have ended for roughly 2 million people.

As the stalemate dragged on, Democrats had said opposition by most Republicans to extending the emergency benefits showed GOP indifference toward helping those out of work. Republicans said they wanted an extension that was fully paid for and which improved the system.

Dow Jones posts fourth loss in a row

Increasing worries about China’s economy and rising tensions over the Ukraine rattled the stock market Thursday.

Investors sold stocks and shifted to safer assets, such as bonds. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points, and Treasury prices rose.

It was the worst day for the market in six weeks and the fourth loss in a row for the Dow. The plunge was a sharp contrast to the relatively quiet trading Monday through Wednesday after a record-setting run last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 231.19 points, or 1.4 percent, to 16,108.89.

Wire reports

Selected local stocks

STOCK, DIVIDENDCLOSECHANGE

Aqua America, .61, 25.11 .45

Avalon Holdings,5.71—.02

Clear Channel, .61 21.60 —.03

Cortland Bancorp, 10.60.00

Farmers Nat., .127.49 .02

First Energy, 2.20, 31.42.42

FirstMerit Corp., .64,21.48 —.16

First Niles Financial, .32,7.00.00

FNB Corp., .48,12.71—.05

General Motors,34.07—.79

General Electric, .76,25.33—.43

Huntington Bank, .20, 9.63—.07

JP Morgan Chase, 1.52,57.44—.48

Key Corp, .22,13.76—.01

LaFarge, 18.57 —.41

Macy’s, 1.00, 58.20—.56

Parker Hannifin, 1.80, 116.77—2.54

PNC, 1.76,82.83—.63

RTI Intl. Metals,26.80.25

Simon Prop. Grp.,4.60,161.60—.67

Stoneridge 11.17 —.40

Talmer Bank, .00.00

United Community Fin. 3.95—.06

Selected prices at 4 p.m. Thursday. Provided by Stifel. Not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security.