Money Minute: Walmart Stokes Smartphone Wars; Coal Firm Faces Big Fine

The first shot is launched in what could become a new price war for smartphones.

Walmart Stores (WMT) is cutting prices on both the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S4. The price on the Galaxy drops to $49 from $99. The Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5S drops to $119 from $145, and the 5C goes down to $29 from $45. All of the deals require a two-year service contract with Verizon Wireless (VZ) (VOD) or AT&T (T). And for a two-week period, buyers will also get a $50 gift Walmart gift certificate. The sale heightens speculation that Apple will soon rollout a new iPhone model.

A coal mining company has agreed to pay the largest water pollution fine ever imposed by regulators. Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) will pay more than $27 million, and spend another $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Regulators allege the company violated water pollution laws 6,000 times since 2007 -- dumping heavy metals into waters and streams in five states: West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

Two men have been found guilty of stealing inside information from DuPont (DD) and selling it to a company controlled by the Chinese government. The DuPont chemical is used to whiten all sorts of consumer products.

A new analysis of the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour finds it will slash government spending on food stamps. The Center for American Progress says an increase would reduce government expenditures by $4.6 billion a year, as 3.5 million people would no longer depend of food stamps.

Here on Wall Street Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 35 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was virtually flat, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 6 points.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports the buyout firm Cerberus is prepared to offer more than $9 billion for Safeway (SWY), which has more than 1,300 grocery stores across the country. But Kroger (KR), the number one grocery chain, is also considering an offer.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.