Yahoo ends talks with Microsoft, shares plunge

SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo Inc.'s efforts to revive takeover talks with Microsoft Corp. have reached a dead end, setting the stage for the Internet pioneer to turn over a piece of its advertising platform to online search leader Google Inc.

The news disclosed Thursday caused Yahoo shares to plunge by more than 10 percent as investors abandoned hope that Microsoft would renew a five-month quest to buy the Sunnyvale-based company.

Yahoo tried to renew the discussions at Microsoft's last offer of $47.5 billion, or $33 per share, but the software maker wasn't willing to bid that much again, according to a statement released Thursday.

Ex-Home Depot worker charged in kickback case

ATLANTA - A second former Home Depot employee has been charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud the company by taking kickbacks from foreign suppliers seeking to do business with the world's largest home improvement store chain.

Federal prosecutors said 43-year-old James P. Robinson of Atlanta is charged with two counts of income tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Robinson is a former divisional merchandising manager for flooring for Atlanta-based Home Depot. An attorney for Robinson, Thomas Ford, declined to comment Thursday.

Stocks tumble as oil prices surge; Dow falls 205

NEW YORK - Wall Street tumbled Wednesday as oil prices rebounded, fanning concerns that inflation will further pinch consumers and lead central banks to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points to its lowest close since mid-March.

Investors are uneasy about oil prices, which on Wednesday traded as high as $138.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before settling up $5.07 at $136.38. Having breached $139 a barrel last week, record-high crude has increasingly posed both an inflationary risk and a threat to growth.

Jobless benefits extension passes

WASHINGTON - The House on Thursday approved an extra three months of jobless benefits for all unemployed Americans, knowing the plan's chances are slight in the Senate and almost nonexistent at the White House.

After failing to get a veto-proof two-thirds margin by three votes on Wednesday, Democrats got an exact two-thirds margin on Thursday with a 274-137 vote - the amount needed to overcome a threatened presidential veto.

Retail sales jump by largest amount in six months

WASHINGTON - The stimulus checks are working. A big increase in retail sales signaled that people are spending their rebate payments, helping to ward off a serious economic slump, at least for now.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that retail sales soared 1 percent last month, double what had been expected. It was the largest increase since November and represented strong sales retailers including the biggest increase at department stores and other general merchandise stores in a year.