AMERICA WEST TAPS GOVERNMENT: America West Airlines applied for $400-million in federal loan guarantees, which could trigger nearly $1-billion in private financial assistance. The loan guarantees are part of a federal airline bailout package approved by Congress after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. America West, the nation's eighth largest airline, is receiving $120-million in grants from the bailout. It is the first carrier to apply for federal loan guarantees, a Treasury Department spokeswoman said.
NOKIA PLANS LICENSING: Nokia said it will license parts of its software and components to other handset manufacturers, pushing its own technology as a global standard for mobile phones. The technology provides the possibility of multimedia messaging, connections to the Internet and downloading from Web sites into so-called "smart" mobile phones. Nokia also said it is licensing a platform that runs on top of the Symbian operating system, which is used by more than 70 percent of the mobile phone market. Nokia named 15 partners, including its chief rivals, Motorola and Sony Ericsson as partners in the initiative. Nokia is the world's largest cell phone company.
STUDY RIPS PAYDAY LOANS: Businesses offering short-term cash advances against borrowers' paychecks charge fees equivalent to annual interest rates of 182 to 910 percent, a new survey by consumer groups shows. The companies making the so-called "payday loans" are increasingly entering partnerships with out-of-state banks to skirt the law in the 19 states that prohibit such loans, officials of the Consumer Federation of America and Public Interest Research Group said. Disputing the groups' statements, a representative of the booming payday loan industry said the product fills a market need, especially for consumers raising families who face unexpected financial emergencies. Critics say the loans, especially when rolled over, can trap consumers in a cycle of perpetual debt.
TREASURY AUCTION: Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Tuesday's auction. The Treasury Department auctioned $16-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.815 percent, down from 1.975 percent last week. Another $16-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 1.820 percent, down from 1.920 percent last week. The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors: 1.850 percent for three-month bills and 1.862 percent for a six-month bill. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury bills fell to 1.99 percent last week from 2.11 percent the previous week.