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Top 4 Business Stories of the Day

When Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve may only wait six months after ending its bond buying to raise interest rates, it was an unscripted moment that many called a rookie mistake. But even so, it could very well provide a clearer window into the U.S. central bank's thinking. That certainly was how markets took it, immediately swooning as traders priced in a quicker start to rates hikes than they had earlier anticipated. U.S. home resales dropped slightly in February to a 19 month-low as cold weather and a shortage of homes for sale continued to sideline potential buyers. The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday home sales dropped 0.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.60 million units, the lowest level since July 2012, and in line with economists' expectations. Even though temperatures remained chilly in February, pinching sales, a modest improvement in inventory on the market indicates buyers are expected to jump in soon. With the arrival of spring Thursday, the snow left behind by a succession of brutal storms that will soon begin melting. But the bills for added costs of one of the worst U.S. winters in decades are still piling up. From epic pothole repair bills to lost productivity from grounded flights, this has been one of the coldest-and costliest-winters in memory. This winter's awful weather is already showing up in economic data. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week told a Senate panel that the harsh winter has had a chilling effect on consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of economic activity. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says broadband companies should be required to connect their networks to major content providers such as Netflix for free. In a blog post published Thursday, Hastings called for rules to ensure big broadband providers like Comcast can't keep charging companies such as Netflix a fee to connect directly to their networks--a practice known as interconnection or peering.

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