Morning Money Memo…
Is a 3D smart phone a dumb move for Amazon? That's what many industry analysts are wondering about today's expected announcement of a brand new market for the world's biggest online retailer.
Amazon has declined to comment, but it's widely reported to be launching a phone capable of displaying 3D images. Some analysts have speculated that 3-D could be used for shopping.
Consumers might use the phone to take a 3-D picture of a product in a store, then search for it on Amazon and make a purchase. The phone is expected to come with sensors that track the movement of your head, letting you open menus just by tilting the device.
"Anything that generates more repeat orders and more frequent purchases is probably part of what they intend to do with this," said R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian.
AT&T is expected to be the exclusive carrier for the phone. But this launch carries risks. Some analysts doubt that even Amazon can successfully break in to an already crowded market.
"It's extremely odd that Amazon is apparently taking its own stab at mobile 3D," says Mashable tech writer Pete Pachel. "So far there has been little demand for 3D displays in mobile."
Many Americans may have a beef with rising prices. While prices of most goods have been held in check the cost of beef rose 74 percent in five years. Airline ticket prices are another standout - going up 6 percent last month alone.
But The Federal Reserve in its statement today is likely to point out that U.S. inflation is still modest with average price increases of about 2 percent over the past year. Economists expect the Fed's first interest rate increase is at least a year away, but that could change if inflation were to accelerate.
Banks are making it easier for small businesses to get loans, and they're giving companies better terms and lower interest rates. That's the finding from a survey on small business financing by researchers at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet.
Less than half - 44 percent - of small businesses surveyed last month said they received bank loans during the previous three months. That's up from 39 percent in February and 34 percent last fall.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell say a large area off the coast is being opened for commercial wind energy leases.
The proposed area is more than 1,160 square miles. That's larger than the land area of Rhode Island and will nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects.
The area is about 12 miles offshore, south of Martha's Vineyard, and will be auctioned as four leases.
The federal government is declaring more than 400,000 acres in Colorado and Utah off-limits to energy exploration to protect a little-known bird.
The Gunnison sage grouse is related to the better-known greater sage grouse. The federal government is considering listing both birds as endangered species. That could prohibit development and agriculture in huge chunks of the West.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow