April 29, 2011 / 7:00 AM / 6 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - New York Times business news - April 29

April 29 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The New York Times business pages on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The federal government proposed sweeping new guidelines on Thursday that could push the food industry to overhaul how it advertises cereal, soda pop, snacks, restaurant meals and other foods to children. The Federal Trade Commission’s plan seeks to restrict the marketing of products like sugary cereals and fast-food meals to help stem childhood obesity.

* For years, China’s export juggernaut has been fed by highly efficient factories, low-cost labor and a fleet of container ships capable of transporting huge volumes of toys, textiles, electronics and other goods to every corner of the world. But there is a surprisingly weak link in the Made in China chain. A disorganized and inefficient trucking system is creating a bottleneck for China’s export economy, and the problem could get worse.

* When the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March, economists and corporate leaders knew it was only a matter of time for the financial effects to reach American companies. That time has come. With quarterly earnings season in full swing, companies are reporting in hard numbers what analysts and business leaders could only predict after the March 11 disaster: consumer sales were lost; breaks with suppliers have led to output cuts; and earnings weakened.

* American economic expansion slowed to a crawl in the first quarter, but economists are hopeful that the setback will be temporary. Higher commodity prices and winter blizzards that shuttered businesses and delayed construction were among the main causes of the slowdown.

* Microsoft Corp , once the dominant technology company, saw revenue from its core operating system software slip in the first three months of the year as consumers begin to shift to buying tablet computers that do not run on Microsoft software. A slowdown in personal computer sales was overshadowed by strong sales of its Kinect and Xbox video game products.

* When executives at Research in Motion Ltd were faced with skepticism last month about the company’s ability to compete against Apple Inc and Google Inc , they consistently pointed to its still-robust financial performance. That defense is not looking so solid. RIM, the maker of BlackBerry phones, lowered its profit forecast for the current quarter by 11 percent on Thursday.

* A drug that costs about $50 a dose is just as effective at preserving and improving vision in elderly people with an age-related eye disease as one that costs $2,000 a dose, the results of a government-sponsored clinical trial showed. The findings could possibly save Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars a year - and cost Genentech an equivalent amount in lost sales - if more doctors begin using Avastin instead of Lucentis.

* After Warren Buffett disclosed last month that David Sokol was resigning from Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) amid the revelation that he had bought a $10 million personal stake in Lubrizol Corp while promoting a takeover of the company, Berkshire was quiet for weeks. Now, on the eve of Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting, the company has come out fighting.

* The depressed price of natural gas has clouded the economics of new reactors, and the disaster in Japan has further weakened support for building plants. (Compiled by Tenzin Pema; Bangalore Equities Newsdesk +91 80 4135 5800; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780)

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