Business Roundup for Friday, January 30

Pedestrians walk by the New York Stock Exchange (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ending sharply lower after disappointing results from online retailer and more trouble in overseas markets The declines are capping a tough month for the U.S. stock market, which had its worst January in four years. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 149.76 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 15,698.85 on Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 11.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,782.59 The Nasdaq dropped 19.25 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,103.88. fell $44.32, or 11 percent, to $358.69. Its results fell below what Wall Street was expecting. Earlier, investors were unnerved by lower-than-expected inflation in the eurozone, which showed the recovery is still weak there.

Currencies for several emerging-market countries also fell against the dollar.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer sentiment is slipping along with the stock market. The University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment dropped 1.3 points to 81.2 this month. However, that's still a healthy level. It's still solidly higher than January of last year. Earlier today, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, despite no growth in income.

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter has bought 900 patents from IBM. Twitter said in a November regulatory filing that it received a letter from IBM accusing it of infringing on three of its patents. Today's deal also includes a cross-license agreement. Twitter says the deal will provide it with greater intellectual property protection and freedom to innovate. As a relatively new company, Twitter holds just a handful of patents, while IBM holds more than 41,000.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York judge has approved the $8.5 billion Bank of America settlement over investor losses from mortgage-backed securities. Critics of the settlement argued that it represented only a fraction of the losses, but State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick ruled that trustee Bank of New York Mellon "did not abuse its discretion" in entering the agreement and "did not act in bad faith." The claims were against trust creator Countrywide Financial and trust servicer Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says crews are trying to stop natural gas that's flowing from a drilling rig about 100 miles off the Louisiana coast. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says officials lost control of the rig yesterday. Most crew members were evacuated and no injuries or pollution have been reported. Wild gas wells tend to be less of an environmental threat than blowouts from oil wells.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' income showed no gain in December, but that didn't stop people from spending. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.4 percent last month, following an even stronger gain in November. However wages and salaries were basically flat last month, reflecting a sharp slowing in employment growth. For the year, income growth was 2.8 percent, the weakest it's been since the depths of the recession.

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Chevron says profit fell 32 percent in the fourth quarter. Despite the oil and gas boom in the U.S., Chevron's domestic production fell as increases in Pennsylvania and Texas were offset by declining production in older fields. The lower production along with lower prices for refined fuels relative to the cost of crude crimped earnings, which came in at $2.57 per share, a penny less than analysts polled by FactSet had expected.

UNDATED (AP) — MasterCard says its fourth-quarter earnings climbed 3 percent as higher revenue balanced a jump in expenses. However, those results missed expectations. Meanwhile, Mattel's fourth-quarter financial results have also come in below expectations. The toymaker saw sales of brands including Barbie and Fisher-Price drop during the holiday season.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Inflation across the eurozone has fallen further below the European Central Bank's target. The EU's statistics office says inflation in the 18 countries that use the euro currency fell to 0.7 percent in January. The drop was unexpected and is raising fears that the eurozone is about to suffer a bout of deflation. Falling prices can hurt an economy as consumers delay purchases in the hope of getting bargains down the line and businesses postpone investment.

LONDON (AP) — International stock markets fell today after a drop in eurozone inflation showed the recovery is still weak there and concern persisted over the outlook for emerging economies. Benchmark U.S crude oil fell below $98 a barrel. The dollar fell against the yen and was flat against the euro.

WASHINGTON — There are two government reports scheduled for release today. The Commerce Department will report on personal income and spending for December and the Labor Department will release the fourth-quarter employment cost index. As far as company earnings are concerned, four will report their quarterly results. They are Electrolux, Mattel, MasterCard and Chevron.

NEW YORK (AP) — Security experts say the theft of usernames and passwords from Yahoo could indicate hackers want to use them to achieve larger goals, like the ability to send more realistic spam messages. The bigger danger is access to email accounts could lead to more serious breaches involving banking and shopping sites. That's because many people reuse passwords across many sites, and also because many sites use email to reset passwords. Yahoo didn't say how many accounts have been affected.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Inflation across the countries that share the euro fell further below the European Central Bank's target in January, a development that may stoke speculation of another interest rate reduction. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, says inflation in the 18-country eurozone fell to 0.7 percent in the year to January, down from 0.8 percent the previous month. The consensus was for a rise to 0.9 percent.

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