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Business: Beyond Tampa Bay

All but one of the nation's 30 largest banks are better able to withstand a severe U.S. recession and global downturn than at any time since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has determined. Results of the Fed's annual "stress tests" showed Thursday that only Zions Bancorp failed to meet the Fed's minimum level of capital to withstand a crisis. The 30 banks tested included Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

AT&T will take orders for Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone starting today, while T-Mobile will start Monday. Verizon, Sprint and others are also expected to carry the phone, though details have yet to be revealed. Samsung has said the phone will start shipping worldwide on April 11. The S5 has a 5.1-inch screen, measured diagonally, a 16-megapixel camera and a fingerprint sensor to use in place of a passcode to unlock the phone or make payments through PayPal. AT&T says the phone will cost $200 with a two-year service agreement or $650 without a contract. T-Mobile is charging $660 under its installment plan.

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, which is close to pre-recession levels and suggests a stable job market. The four-week average of applications, a less-volatile figure, fell 3,500 to 327,000, the lowest since late November, the Labor Department said Thursday. About 3.35 million people received unemployment benefits as of March 1, the latest figures available. That's about 101,000 fewer than the previous week.

Starbucks plans to turn more of its cafes into destinations for beer and wine in the evenings, saying it is looking to expand alcohol sales to "thousands of select stores" over the next several years, although it didn't provide details on an exact time line. The chain first offered beer and wine after 4 p.m. at one of its Seattle cafes in 2010. The drinks are now in about 26 cafes, with plans to reach 40 by the end of this year.

tHE BOTTOM LINE: McDonald's says its chief operating officer, Tim Fenton, is retiring and the hamburger chain won't refill the position … Conference Board's index of leading indicators rose 0.5 percent in February, the largest increase in three months, suggesting growth should rebound

Business: Beyond Tampa Bay 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 10:37am]
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