A Week's Worth
• Inflation tamer: Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in June, a sign that inflation is not posing much of a problem to the economy. Excluding more volatile energy and food costs, "core" prices edged up only 0.1 percent, the Labor Department reported. On average, consumers faced bigger bills for medical care, and college tuition, but paid less for lodging, computers, and telephone service. Prices have risen at an annual rate of 4.9 percent so far through June, compared with 1.9 percent for all of 2003. Americans may soon see even more savings as wholesale prices dropped 0.3 percent last month.
• Five months: That's the sentence celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart received for lying about a stock sale. She was also ordered to spend five months confined to her home and fined $30,000. Ms. Stewart will remain free pending appeal.
• Fraud signs: A study in last month's Financial Analysts Journal found that companies accused of fraud had a lower percentage of outside and independent directors, were less likely to have an audit committee, and were more likely to have a compensation committee than companies not linked to the crime.
• Money is no object when it comes to our pets. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Americans will spend $34.3 billion on their assorted animals this year, more than doubling the $17 billion they spent in 1994. The group adds that Americans spend more on products for pets than on toys ($20 billion annually) and candy ($24 million).