Business Roundup for Tuesday, February 4


People walk past a sign at the Microsoft Office 2013 launch event in Bryant Park (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are recovering somewhat after yesterday's big losses. The Dow has been bouncing around a bit in morning trading, up as much as 74 points but also dipping into negative territory at one point. The broader indexes have been moderately higher. Overseas, European benchmarks appear to be stabilizing, while Asian markets were down. Japan's Nikkei took the biggest hit, losing more than 4 percent.

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft has named Satya Nadella as its new CEO. Nadella has been at the company for 22 years, serving as executive in charge of some of the company's fastest-growing and most-profitable businesses, including Office and its server and tools business. Most recently, he's led Microsoft's cloud computing offerings. Microsoft also says founder Bill Gates is leaving the chairman role for a new role as technology adviser on the board. Board member John Thompson will serve as Microsoft's new chairman.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department says orders to U.S. factories fell 1.5 percent in December. That's the biggest drop since July. Much of the weakness came from a plunge in aircraft orders. Orders in a closely watched category that serves as a proxy for business investment declined 0.6 percent. That was smaller than the 1.3 percent drop estimated in a preliminary report last week and follows a sizable 3 percent jump in November, spurred by an expiring tax break.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home prices slipped from November to December. Real estate data provider CoreLogic says prices dipped 0.1 percent. While it was the third straight month-to-month drop, for all of 2013, prices rose a healthy 11 percent. CoreLogic's price figures aren't adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as cold winter weather, which typically slows sales.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Republicans in Congress are calling for an overhaul to the Endangered Species Act. A group of 13 GOP lawmakers are proposing changes that include more safeguards for private landowners and more authority for states over imperiled species within their borders. They say the law has become bogged down by litigation from wildlife advocates and few species have been declared recovered. Proponents say the law has saved hundreds of species from extinction, including the bald eagle, the American alligator and the gray whale.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average dived more than 4 percent today as weakness in U.S. and Chinese manufacturing sent international stock markets sharply lower. Early European trading mirrored the slide in Asia. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $96.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department's report on factory orders for December is the only major piece of U.S. economic data expected today. As for corporate earnings, Panasonic reports quarterly financial results before the market opens.

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. companies are reporting strong profits for the fourth quarter of last year. But most are failing to impress investors who were hoping for even more and are too worried about larger global economic forces to do much buying. With results in from half of the companies in the S&P 500 index, fourth-quarter earnings are up a respectable 7.3 percent. Of the 250 companies that have reported results, 172 have beaten expectations and 51 have fallen short, a better ratio than average. It hasn't been enough to keep stock markets from sliding.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The finger-pointing is on between banks and big retailers in the wake of the Target data breach. At issue: Which industry bears more responsibility for protecting consumers? The retailers say banks must upgrade their credit card security technology. The banks say that wouldn't have helped in the Target breach and retailers need to tighten their card processing security.

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