Toyota faces federal, congressional probe
WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Facing tough questions in Congress, Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the company's safety problems and the Securities and Exchange Commission was probing what the automaker told investors.
The twin developments created new challenges for Toyota officials scheduled to testify at hearings Tuesday and Wednesday amid concerns that the company and federal regulators failed to take safety problems seriously. Congressional investigators are reviewing the Japanese automaker's recall of 8.5 million vehicles since fall to deal with safety problems involving gas pedals, floor mats and brakes.
___Stocks close lower on caution about economy NEW YORK (AP) ¿ The stock market paused from a four-day rally Monday and closed modestly lower after big consumer companies gave a cautious outlook for economic growth. The market, which has advanced on stronger economic signs, fluctuated after Lowe's Cos. and Campbell Soup Co. reported higher earnings but reminded investors that a recovery among consumers is expected to be slow. Stocks drew some support from news that oil field services company Schlumberger Ltd. agreed to buy Smith International Inc. The Dow fell 18.97, or 0.2 percent, to 10,383.38. Rising stocks were about even with losers on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a light 944 million shares. ___ Outlook no brighter for Obama's new health plan WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Starting over on health care, President Barack Obama knows his chances aren't looking much more promising. A year after he called for a far-reaching overhaul, Obama unveiled his most detailed plan yet on Monday. Realistically, he's just hoping to win a big enough slice to silence the talk of a failing presidency. The 10-year, $1 trillion plan, like the current Democratic version in the Senate, would bring health insurance to more than 31 million Americans who now lack it. Government insurance wouldn't be included, a problem for Democratic progressives. Republicans are skeptical about where the money would come from ¿ and about Obama's claim that the plan wouldn't raise the federal deficit.