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Briefs

Stewart, Macy’s settle suit

– Macy’s and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia say they have settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving J.C. Penney.

But Macy’s said the settlement does not impact its lawsuit against J.C. Penney Co., which is still ongoing.

Macy’s Inc. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. said Thursday that their settlement terms are confidential and not material to their businesses. Both companies said that they look forward to “a continued, successful partnership together.”

Macy’s has had an exclusive merchandising contract with Martha Stewart since 2006, including items like bedding and bath products.

Stewart’s company and Penney signed a merchandising deal in December 2011 to develop mini Martha Stewart shops. That prompted Macy’s to sue both companies for violating its exclusive agreement with Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and J.C. Penney have already scaled back their partnership. In October the department store chain said it would no longer sell a broad range of home and bath products designed by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia but would continue to sell a smaller batch of Martha Stewart items, including window treatments, rugs and party supplies.

Netflix testing new price tiers

Netflix is testing new price plans for streaming video as it tries to lure more viewers.

Among the plans being tested are a $6.99-a-month plan that allows only one video stream to be watched at once, and a $9.99-a-month plan that allows three streams at one time, whether on a TV, tablet or computer.

A Netflix spokesman says not everyone will see the test prices and they may never roll out to all customers.

Netflix’s standard $7.99-a-month plan allows users to watch video on up to 2 screens at once, including TVs and mobile devices. An $11.99-a-month service allows up to four shows at once. Netflix announced that plan in April.

Any move to offer a cheaper service tier would be surprising to some analysts, who expect the company to raise prices eventually to pay for the service’s content.

Warning issued about oil shipped from Plains

Following a string of explosive accidents, federal officials said that crude oil being shipped by rail from the Northern Plains across the U.S. and Canada may be more flammable than traditional forms of oil.

A safety alert issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation warns about the potential high volatility of crude from the Bakken oil shale patch. The massive oil reserve is fueling the surging industry in eastern Montana and western North Dakota, which is now the nation’s second-largest oil producer. The warning comes after a massive explosion caused by an oil train derailment on Monday near Casselton, N.D.

Fiat stock soars on Chrysler deal

Stock in Fiat soared on news the Italian automaker will take full ownership of Chrysler, but some Italian unions worried what the deal will mean for jobs and investments in the country.

In a New Year’s day announcement, Fiat Spa said it could complete its acquisition of Chrysler without having to raise new capital through a rights issue. Investors cheered the fact, bidding the shares up 12 percent on the Milan exchange.

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