Rents Slashed in America's Tallest Building

(Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Morning Money Memo:

New York City's giant World Trade Center is supposed to be a bold symbol of revival for Lower Manhattan in the years after the 9/11 attacks. But the owners of the building are slashing rents by nearly 10 percent because they can't find enough tenants. The Wall Street Journal reports that 1 World Trade Center is only 55 percent leased. It says no private office tenant has signed a lease in almost three years. Developer Douglas Durst bought a stake in the 1,776-foot tower from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2011. Major tenants in the building include magazine publisher Conde Nast and the government's General Services Administration. The skyscraper, the nation's tallest building, is scheduled to open later this year.

CEO pay is climbing higher and higher. An Associated Press-Equilar pay study finds that the median pay package for a CEO rose above eight figures for the first time last year. The head of a typical large public company earned a record $10.5 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from 2012. A chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker's salary.

The stock market could take up where it left off. The big stock S&P 500 Index closed Friday above 1,900 for the first time. Stock futures rose this morning after gains last week. The index is up nearly 3 percent this year. Shares were mostly lower in Asia today as tensions flared between China and Vietnam. The price of oil is up on global markets and the reason is concern in Europe about supply disruptions, after pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine occupied a major airport in the East. July crude futures are now above $104 a barrel.

A price-fixing conspiracy in the auto parts industry is the largest-ever criminal anti-trust investigation at the Justice Department. Charges have been filed against dozens of firms. So far 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so. They've paid about $2.3 billion in fines. Officials say U.S. car buyers have paid more because of the parts industry conspiracy.

China's government plans to take 6 million older, polluting vehicles off the road this year in an effort to revive stalled progress toward cleaning up smog-choked cities. The plan also calls for filling stations in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities to switch to selling only the cleanest grades of gasoline and diesel, according to a statement issued today.

Pfizer's bid for the British drugmaker AstraZeneca is off. Today's announcement comes a week after AstraZeneca's board rejected a proposed $119 billion buyout offer from Pfizer, the world's second-biggest drugmaker by revenue. In other deal news, Pilgrim's Pride is offering to acquire meat producer Hillshire Brands in a deal worth about $5.58 billion. Hillshire shares jumped 23 percent in pre-market trading.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow