Business Roundup for Wednesday, February 12


Chevron refinery in Richmond, California (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) —U.S. stocks were mixed in midday trading Wednesday as investors assessed news from some big U.S. companies. Stocks jumped a day earlier after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she would continue the central bank's market-friendly, low-interest rate policies. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was little changed at 1,819 as of 12:19 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 38 points, or less than 0.1 percent, at 15,988. The Nasdaq composite rose seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,198.

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil is back above $100 a barrel. Expectations of tighter supplies and record imports of crude by China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, have helped push prices higher. Increased demand for heating oil due to frigid weather in the U.S. also has lifted prices in recent weeks. Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up more than a dollar on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after settling at $99.94 yesterday.

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere & Co. says its first-quarter profits rose nearly 5 percent, beating Wall Street expectations. Revenue also grew more than expected as Deere raised prices and improved productivity. High crop prices in recent years have put money into farmers' pockets and driven a boom in demand for Deere's tractors and other motorized farm gear. But Deere says that demand has begun "moderating," and it expects farm equipment sales will fall this year.

LONDON (AP) — Industry across the 18-country eurozone suffered an unexpectedly big reverse at the end of 2013. The EU's statistics office says industrial production fell a monthly 0.7 percent in December. That was more than double what the market had anticipated. The report comes as further evidence that the eurozone's economic recovery is failing to gain much momentum. However, Germany is raising its growth forecast for 2014 slightly to 1.8 percent, saying low unemployment and rising wages should spur domestic demand.

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota is recalling 1.9 million Prius hybrids for a software glitch that could cause the vehicle to stall. The recall affects more than 700,000 cars in North American. The recalled vehicles were manufactured between March 2009 and February 2014. No accidents or injuries have been reported related to the problem.

TOKYO (AP) — International stock markets were higher today after the new head of the U.S. Federal Reserve vowed a continuation of low interest rates. Stronger Chinese trade figures and the shelving of another U.S. debt limit battle also boosted markets. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $100.50 a barrel. The dollar lost some ground against the euro and the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a slim day for economic data, but there are a few corporate earnings reports on the calendar. Deere & Co. reports its quarterly financial results before the market opens. Whole Foods Market, Mondelez International and CBS report after the market closes. This afternoon, Treasury releases federal budget figures for January.

BEIJING (AP) — China's trade growth accelerated in January in a possible positive sign for growth in the world's second-largest economy. Government data today shows imports rose 10 percent, up from January's 8.3 percent. Exports rose 10.6 percent, more than double the previous month's 4.3 percent rate. Trade growth was much stronger than expected and might help to ease concern about China's economic slowdown and global consumer demand.

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says it is hiring more than 2,500 full-time workers at its order fulfillment centers around the U.S. Inc. plans to announce today that the jobs are available in Chester, Va., and Petersburg, Va.; Coffeyville, Kan.; Columbia, S.C.; Dupont, Wash.; Murfreesboro, Tenn. The world's largest online retailer says last year it hired more than 20,000 people at its fulfillment centers, with more than half starting out as seasonal workers.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)