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Starbucks getting political

February 19. 2013 11:42PM
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Starbucks getting political

Starbucks is using its coffee cups to jump into the political fray in Washington.

The world's biggest coffee chain is asking employees at cafes in the Washington, D.C., area to scribble the words Come Together on cups for drink orders. CEO Howard Schultz says the words are intended as a message to lawmakers about the damage being caused by the divisive negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

It's the first time employees at Starbucks cafes are being asked to write anything other than customers' names on cups.

While companies generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, the plea to Come Together is a sentiment unlikely to cause controversy. If anything, Starbucks could score points with customers and burnish its image as a socially conscious company.

Shell gets extension in Pa.

A Pennsylvania company says it has given Shell Oil Co. six more months to decide whether it wants to buy land for a proposed petrochemical plant.

Shell said in March that the site in Monaca, about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, was its first choice to build a multibillion-dollar plant, but that extensive evaluations had to be done.

The so-called cracker plant would convert natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale into more profitable chemicals such as ethylene, used to make plastics and other products.

The purchase option with Horsehead Corp. was set to expire at the end of the year. Shell always said it was years away from making a final decision.

The site is currently home to a zinc smelter, which Horsehead expects to shut down.

Big-city home prices fall

Home prices in the nation's 20 biggest cities dipped 0.1 percent in October from the prior month, but rose strongly from the same month last year, according to a closely watched index, indicating the start of the seasonal slowdown in home prices.

It was the first month-over-month dip after six months of gains for the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 large cities. The index was up 4.3 percent compared with October 2011.

Looking over this report, and considering other data on housing starts and sales, it is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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