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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
FedEx sinks, investors shrug off Cyprus' troubles, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
Employees of the Athens, Greece Bank of Cyprus rally in solidarity with the struggling island country.
Employees of the Athens, Greece Bank of Cyprus rally in solidarity with the struggling island country. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

1. FEDEX PROFITS SINK AS CUSTOMERS PINCH PENNIES
FedEx reported Wednesday that its quarterly profits fell by 31 percent as cost-conscious customers increasingly chose slower, less-expensive ground shipping over air freight. The news sent the company's shares down by 3 percent in early trading. It was also a troubling sign for the U.S. recovery. FedEx, the world's second-biggest package-delivery company, is considered a bellwether for the economy as a whole, because so many businesses and families use it to ship packages. [Associated Press]
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2. STOCKS SHRUG OFF CYPRUS' REJECTION OF BAILOUT TERMS
Investors appeared to be taking Cyprus' rejection of Europe's bailout terms in stride, as stock markets around the world held firm Wednesday even though Cypriot lawmakers unanimously rejected a controversial tax on bank deposits. European leaders signaled they would find another way to contain the eastern Mediterranean nation's financial crisis. Cyprus' finance minister pleaded for financial help from Russia on Wednesday, trying to prevent a financial meltdown after the Cypriot parliament rejected the terms of Europe's $13 billion rescue plan. [Reuters]
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3. FTC BUSTS RETAILER FOR CLAIMING REAL FUR WAS FAKE
Neiman Marcus Group settled with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday over claims that it sold clothing with real fur but told customers the fur was fake, potentially deceiving customers opposed to killing animals for their pelts. The FTC said the luxury retailer committed the faux pas with three products — two fancy jackets and a Stuart Weitzman shoe. It also allegedly mislabeled one other product, saying that inexpensive rabbit was swanky mink. [New York Times, Reuters]
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4. FED POLICY MAKERS EXPECTED TO KEEP EASY MONEY FLOWING
Federal Reserve officials are wrapping up a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, and analysts expect them to commit to continuing their policy of pumping money into the economy. The Fed is also expected to keep interest rates near zero, another measure the central bank has used to stimulate the economy. The Fed has vowed to keep its easy-money policies in force until the recovery grows stronger, and recent data suggest the strategy is helping. "The Fed is winning," economists at High Frequency Economics wrote recently. [Washington Post]
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5. AMAZON RUMORED TO BE PLANNING A $99 KINDLE FIRE
Tech bloggers reported Wednesday that Amazon is planning to release a $99, 7-inch version of its Kindle Fire tablet. Currently, the cheapest Kindle Fire costs $159. The move would help Amazon steal sales from both Apple's iPad mini and a growing field of low-end Android tablets, reported TechCrunch. Earlier this month, Amazon cut prices on its Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch devices, reducing the Wi-Fi-only version from $299 to $269, and the LTE version from $499 to $399. The strategy makes sense even though Amazon will lose on every sale, says John Brownlee at Cult of Mac, because Kindle Fires are "really just a means of getting a computer wholly dedicated to purchasing things from Amazon in consumers' hands." [TechCrunch, Cult of Mac]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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