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iMacs getting upgrade

Apple is upgrading its iMac line of desktop computers with faster processors, higher-resolution cameras and a new type of data port.

The new iMacs all have Intel quad-core processors, which were available as an upgrade to the standard dual-core processors of the previous generation. Apple Inc. says the new models are up to 70 percent faster.

The new 21.5-inch iMac has a single Thunderbolt port, which can carry data at speeds 20 times higher than most current USB ports. It can also connect to additional monitors. The 27-inch iMac has two Thunderbolt ports.

The 21-inch iMac starts at $1,199, the larger model at $1,699.

Apple last revamped its iMacs in October 2009.

India’s rates increase

India’s central bank raised its key interest rate by half a percentage point Tuesday, its ninth hike in just over a year, warning that persistent inflation is threatening growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The bank said the short-term lending rate will go from 6.75 percent to 7.25 percent, a sharper hike than expected, and warned that growth would slow to around 8 percent this fiscal year from 8.6 percent last fiscal.

The move was seen as a sign that the Reserve Bank of India is willing to sacrifice short-term growth to control inflation, dismaying business groups and investors, who sent the benchmark Sensex index down 2.4 percent Tuesday.

Clorox income down

Clorox Co.’s third-quarter net income fell more than 8 percent as it wrestled with higher costs and a fall-off in some of its well-known brands.

The maker of bleach, Glad bags and Hidden Valley salad dressing trimmed the top end of its earnings outlook.

The consumer-goods giant said that revenue rose 1.3 percent over the same quarter a year earlier, an improvement from the 3 percent decrease it saw in the previous two quarters.

Net income fell to $141 million, or $1.09 per share, from $165 million, or $1.16 per share.

Factory orders are up

Businesses increased their demand for industrial machinery, computers and autos in March, lifting factory orders for the fifth consecutive month.

Orders rose 3 percent in March after a 0.7 percent increase in February, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. A key category that signals business investment plans jumped 4.1 percent after a small increase in February and a big decline in January. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 2.6 percent.

The March increase pushed total orders to $462.9 billion, up 31.2 percent from the recession low hit in March 2009.

Analysts noted that the March increase was partly driven by higher oil prices that increased the costs of petroleum products.

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