Business Roundup for Jan. 14

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher on Wall Street this morning, following yesterday's losses. The Dow was up more than 40 points after the first hour of trading, while the broader indexes are also making gains. The Dow has had only two positive sessions so far this year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says retail sales rose 0.2 percent overall last month. A Commerce Department report out this morning shows Americans spent more on clothing, shopped more frequently online and ate out more often in December. But sales at most traditional holiday outlets, such as department stores declined. Auto sales fell 1.8 percent, following healthy October and November sales. For the year, retail sales rose 4.2 percent, the smallest gain in four years.

NEW YORK (AP) — A major retail trade group says holiday sales came in just below its forecast. The National Retail Federation sales for November and December totaled $601.8 billion, an increase of 3.8.percent. The group had forecast a 3.9 percent increase. Sales came at the expense of profits as stores had to discount early and often to get shoppers to buy.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies continued to build up their stockpiles in November as their sales improved. The Commerce Department says business inventories grew 0.4 percent in November. That follows a strong 0.8 percent gain in October. Analysts say the numbers are a sign that businesses believe consumers will increase spending in the months ahead.

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase is reporting a fourth quarter profit, but it's 7 percent lower than last year. The biggest U.S. bank by assets says it had net income of $5.3 billion in the last three months of 2013, earning $1.30 a share. Mounting legal costs and a decline in the bank's investment banking business have hampered the bank's financial performance. Still, the fourth quarter results were better than the third quarter, when JPMorgan posted a loss.

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are hoping Wall Street will have a better day today, following the market's worst day of the year so far. Stocks dropped Monday as falling oil prices pushed down energy stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 179.11 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,257.94. The S&P 500 dropped 23.17 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,819.20, the biggest decline for the index since Nov. 7. And The Nasdaq composite dropped 61.36 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,113.30. Futures point to a flat opening this morning.

HONG KONG (AP) — Most international stock markets sank today as a big sell-off that began in the U.S extended around the globe. Asian and European investor sentiment was dampened after U.S. stocks had their worst day so far this year. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $92 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government provides some numbers on the holiday shopping season this morning, when the Commerce Department is scheduled to release retail sales data for December. A little later this morning, the department reports on business inventories for November. From the private sector, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are set to release quarterly financial reports. Both have taken substantial hits in recent months to settle claims stemming from the mortgage crisis.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Tuesday is expected to approved a short-term funding bill that would give the Senate more time to finish an overall spending bill. Senators would have until midnight Saturday to finish the $1.1 trillion bipartisan spending bill that would pay for the operations of government through October. That bill was unveiled last night by top congressional negotiators hoping to put an end to the bitter battles of 2013.

NEW YORK (AP) — Google will pay $3.2 billion to buy Nest Labs, which develops high-tech versions of devices like thermostats and smoke detectors, in its second-largest acquisition ever. The search engine operator was an early investor in Nest Labs. It says the company's Nest Learning Thermostat has been a "consistent best-seller." It's designed to learn how inhabitants like their homes to be heated and cooled and adjust automatically.

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