Snow comments cause dollar's value to fall
The U.S. dollar hit a new low against the euro Friday, spurred by comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow that the market should set the value of the dollar and he wasn't concerned about its decline.
The dollar traded Friday at $1.2297 against the euro, breaking the previous record of $1.2276 set Tuesday and capping a recent string of new lows. The 12-nation currency has climbed 16.8 percent higher against the dollar this year.
"We're on the side of letting the marketplace work," Snow, pictured above, told reporters at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square in New York, where he held a brief press conference after shopping for presents for his grandchildren.
Kansas City, Mo.
H&R; Block confirms SEC investigation
The federal Securities & Exchange Commission is investigating disclosures H&R; Block Inc. made about litigation stemming from its refund anticipation loan business, the company said Friday.
H&R; Block, the nation's largest tax preparer, said its outside counsel received a notice of the formal order of investigation from the SEC on Thursday. The order concerns disclosures made in and before November 2002, the company said.
The company has fought, and in some cases has settled, several class-action lawsuits that charge the Kansas City, Mo.-based company misled its clients when it did not disclose the true costs of the short-term "refund anticipation" loans, offered to customers awaiting income tax refunds.
Applebee's ups dividend
Applebee's International Inc. said Friday it increased its annual dividend by 1 cent to 7 cents per share.
The Overland Park-based restaurant company also said it would buy back up to an additional $80 million in stock.
The annual dividend will be paid Jan. 23 to holders of record as of Dec. 26. Based on its recent stock price, Applebee's could repurchase about 2.5 million shares, or roughly 4.6 percent of its shares outstanding.
Shares of Applebee's dipped 11 cents, or 0.3 percent, to close Friday at $39.36 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.