CNN Money: Top business headlines for Feb. 19

    7:10 AM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- CNN's Stacey Delikat has your top business and financial news on this Tuesday, February 19.

    Federal worker furloughs could start in April
    Federal workers could start facing furloughs as early as April, according to federal agencies trying to prepare for the worst. Unless Congress steps in, some $85 billion in massive spending reductions will hit the federal government doling out furloughs to much of the nation's 2.1 million federal workforce, experts say. The cuts coming as a part of the "sequester" will end up carving some 9% from non-defense programs and 13% from defense programs. They're part of a larger effort to trim $1.2 trillion from federal deficits over 10 years.

    32 days of higher gas prices comes at tough time
    Gas prices have risen for 32 days straight, according to AAA. That means that the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has increased more than 13% over that period to $3.73.  It's hitting wallets right in the middle of winter, when people are already looking at large home heating bills. And it comes just after many Americans have been hit with smaller paychecks, and are worried about looming budget cuts that could deliver an even deeper blow. What's behind the higher prices at the pump? It's a confluence of factors, from rising crude oil prices, to production cuts and refinery closings.

    OfficeMax, Office Depot in talks to merge
    OfficeMax Inc. and Office Depot Inc. are in advanced talks to merge, people familiar with the matter said, as the retailers of pens, paper and desks try to fight off tougher competition from rivals like Staples Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. The deal is expected to be stock-for-stock, though precise terms couldn't be learned, including what percentage of the merged group shareholders of each company would own. The deal isn't done yet, and talks could still fall apart. But an announcement could come as early as this week, the people said.

    Google to open its own retail stores this year, report says
    It started with Apple stores. Then came Microsoft stores. Are Google stores next? The Silicon Valley company hopes to open retail stores in time for this year's holiday shopping season, according to a report by 9to5Google, which cites an unnamed source. According to the report, Google's leaders have decided retail stores are necessary for the eventual launch of Google Glass -- eyeglasses with capabilities similar to that of smartphone. To attract regular consumers -- and not just hard-core tech users -- Google believes it needs to let people try out Google Glass in person, the report says.

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