Growth slows in much of nation in June, July

The economy worsened in much of the country earlier this summer, hampered by high unemployment, weak home sales and signs of a slowdown in manufacturing.

A survey by the Federal Reserve, released Wednesday, found that weak consumer spending, slow job growth and tight credit are restraining growth into the second half of the year.

Growth slowed in eight of the Fed’s 12 bank regions in June and early July, the report found, compared with the spring. That marked the worst showing this year.

The Fed’s survey found that factory output weakened in some areas. That’s likely to heighten concerns that manufacturing, one of the economy’s few bright spots over the past two years, is sputtering.

Further such evidence came in a separate report Wednesday from the Commerce Department, which found that businesses reduced orders for airplanes, autos, heavy machinery and other long-lasting manufactured goods in June. 

Whole Foods plans store within Detroit city limits

Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to open its first store in Detroit, which would make it the only national grocery chain operating in the city limits.

The 20,000-square-foot supermarket in the Midtown neighborhood, slated to open in 2013, will employ about 75 people, Whole Foods executive operations coordinator Red Elk Banks told The Associated Press. The company planned to formally announce the move later Wednesday.

Detroit has struggled to replace retailers who have steadily left the city over the past three decades, and residents have complained for years about the few options available for fresh produce. 

FHFA suing banking giant over $900 million in losses

The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is suing UBS AG in a bid to recoup more than $900 million in losses from mortgage-backed securities it bought from the banking giant between 2005 and 2007.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Wednesday filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against UBS Americas Inc. and several other units of the Swiss bank. 

Top liquor producer to pay $16.4 million to settle suit

Diageo PLC, the world’s biggest liquor producer, has agreed to pay about $16.4 million to settle civil allegations of bribing government officials in India, Thailand and South Korea to get sales and tax benefits for its Johnnie Walker and Windsor Scotch whiskeys and other brands.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday announced the settlement with London-based Diageo. The SEC had accused the company of paying more than $2.7 million in bribes through subsidiaries in the three countries from 2003 to 2009. Diageo neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing but agreed to refrain from future violations. 

Delta cutting its schedule, buying out 2,000 workers

With high fuel prices slicing last year’s profit in half, Delta Air Lines said 2,000 workers are taking voluntary buyouts, it will cut its fall schedule more than expected and it won’t fly routes where it can’t make money.

Airlines have been raising fares to cover higher fuel bills. Delta’s fuel cost rose 36 percent to $2.66 billion in the latest quarter.

Delta Air Lines Inc. CEO Richard Anderson said higher fares covered 70 percent of the fuel cost. Delta is hoping that scaling back flying and cutting expenses — along with continuing attempts to raise fares — will cover the rest. 

Martha Stewart visits Haiti at invitation of Macy’s CEO

Martha Stewart, Macy’s top executive and a high-end fashion designer landed in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince Wednesday to do a little shopping.

The aim of the day trip was to explore business opportunities, promote foreign investment and even renew purchase orders for the metal and papier-mache handicrafts for which the Caribbean nation has long been known.

“It’s a commercial visit,” Stewart told The Associated Press. “We’re talking business.”

Stewart and fashion designer Rachel Roy came to Haiti at the invitation of Macy’s Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren to meet with Haitian artisans and see the crafts they have been making and selling in 25 of his stores in the United States since October. 

Regulators want details of Google-Admeld deal

Federal regulators are seeking more information about Google’s proposed purchase of digital advertising company Admeld.

The search engine giant said late Wednesday that the Justice Department has requested more details about the transaction, which Google announced in June without disclosing terms. Such requests are not uncommon in federal reviews.

—From news service reports