Money Minute: Fairer Rules for Online Airfare Purchases

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Here's a novel idea: getting an apples to apples comparison when trying to make airline reservations.

The Transportation Department is proposing new rules that would allow us to see the total cost, including all fees and taxes, before we click the "buy ticket" button. This would apply to airline websites as well as third-party travel sites, such as Orbitz (OWW) and Kayak. Add-on fees for things that used to be free are one of the leading complaints of fliers. The airlines industry is opposed to the proposal, saying it will add to their costs.

Computer users are constantly advised to change and secure passwords. The latest warning comes from eBay (EBAY) after a cyberattack on its servers. But a new report says many popular websites don't take security password protection as seriously as we do. Dashlane checked 80 leading sites and gave more than half failing grades. The worst on the list were Match.com, Hulu and Overstock.com (OSTK). Apple (AAPL) had the highest score.

Where there's smoke, there's fire. The tobacco company Lorillard is reportedly near an agreement to sell itself to Reynolds American (RAI). Lorillard (LO) owns Newport, the top-selling menthol brand, as well as blu, the leader in the fast-growing market for battery-powered e-cigarettes.

Here on Wall Street on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 158 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 15, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 34 points.

A $2 billion bill for your dinner. That's how much European consumer products company Unilever (UN) received for selling the rights to the Ragu and Bertolli brands in North America to a Japanese firm. Ragu is the best-selling pasta sauce in the U.S. Last year, Unilever sold two other well-known brands: Skippy peanut butter and Wishbone salad dressing.

Finally, yogurt and other healthier options have been steadily eating away at the dominance of cold cereals for breakfast. So Kellogg (K) is jumping aboard the trend. It's teaming up with Dannon's YoCrunch brand to offer yogurt varieties with Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops mixed in. What's interesting about this deal is that Dannon is owned by Kellogg's chief rival, General Mills (GIS).

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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