Google’s latest feature aims to improve email

Starting this week, Google is rolling out a feature that lets anyone with a Google+ account send emails to Gmail users, and vice versa, unless the recipient has opted out.

“As an extension of some earlier improvements that keep Gmail contacts automatically up to date using Google+, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients when you are composing a new email,” the company said in a release.

By default, users will opt in to the service. Google will allow users to opt out, and Gmail users will get an email from the company notifying them and pointing them to the privacy settings when the feature goes live.

Obama nominating three for Federal Reserve posts

President Obama took a step Friday toward reshaping the Federal Reserve under incoming chairman Janet Yellen, choosing a leading expert on the global economy to be her vice chairman.

Obama said he will nominate Stanley Fischer, a former head of the Bank of Israel, for the No. 2 job at the Fed. He would replace Yellen, who was confirmed this week to lead the Fed.

Obama also is nominating Lael Brainard as a Fed governor. Brainard served as the undersecretary for international affairs at Treasury during Obama’s first term.

And he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second term.

Mercedes-Benz, Audi set sales records last year

German luxury car makers Mercedes-Benz and Audi enjoyed record sales last year, boosted by rising demand in the United States and China.

Mercedes-Benz said Friday that it sold 1.462 million cars last year worldwide, an increase of 10.7 percent. 

Criminal jury trial begins for ex-SAC Capital trader

A former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager got inside information about an Alzheimer’s drug trial and made a pivotal phone call to his billionaire boss a day before the hedge fund began dumping more than $700 million in pharmaceutical stocks, a prosecutor said Friday in opening statements at the trader’s criminal trial.

Over the next eight days, the Stamford, Conn.-based SAC Capital sold all of its more than $700 million investment in drug makers Elan Corp. and Wyeth.

U.S. Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said Mathew Martoma pocketed $9.3 million in bonuses for the successful trades at SAC Capital, which pleaded guilty in November to fraud charges and agreed to pay $1.8 billion to settle charges that it allowed, if not encouraged, insider trading for more than a decade.

– From news service reports