Business briefs

Fed leaves interest rates unchanged

WASHINGTON - Wall Street turbulence, Main Street credit problems and a nationwide housing slump pose increasing risks to the economy, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday, even as it left interest rates unchanged.

Although Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his central bank colleagues acknowledged challenges that have intensified since their last meeting in late June, they nonetheless expressed hope that the economy will safely make its way.

The policymakers also clung to their belief that the biggest potential danger to the economy is that inflation won't recede as they anticipate.

Against these economic crosscurrents, the Fed left an important interest rate at 5.25 percent on Tuesday. In turn, commercial banks' prime interest rate for certain credit cards, home equity lines of credit and other loans - would stay at 8.25 percent.


Consumers boost debt with borrowing in June

WASHINGTON - Consumers boosted their borrowing more than expected in June, reflecting another hefty jump in credit card debt.

The Federal Reserve reported Tuesday that consumer credit rose at an annual rate of 6.5 percent in June. It marked the second straight sizable gain. Consumer credit rose by an even larger 7.9 percent in May.

The increase was led by an 8.4 percent rate of increase for revolving credit, the category that includes credit card debt.


Harrah's second quarter profits jump 85 percent

LAS VEGAS - Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which is being taken private in a $17.1 billion deal, said Tuesday its second-quarter profit surged 85 percent, as visitor volume powered growth in Las Vegas and a new race track casino in Pennsylvania offset weak results in Atlantic City, N.J.

The world's largest casino company posted an increase in net profit to $237.5 million, or $1.25 per share, versus $128.6 million, or 69 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Income from continuing operations rose to $195.5 million, or $1.03 per share, compared with $128.7 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.

Warner posts loss as mp3s outsell CDs

LOS ANGELES - Warner Music Group Corp., one of the world's largest recording companies, said Tuesday its fiscal third-quarter loss widened as more people bought digital music, rather than CDs.

The loss for the quarter ended in June was $17 million, or 12 cents per share, versus a prior-year loss of $14 million, or 10 cents per share. Excluding nonrecurring items related to a corporate restructuring and settlement, the loss in the 2007 quarter was $29 million, or 20 cents per share.