Stocks End the Week on a High
Business Roundup for Friday, February 28.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ending mostly higher after the market had a brief stumble in the afternoon. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged further into record territory, but weakness in technology stocks held back the Nasdaq composite. The S&P 500 rose five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,859 Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points, or 0.3 percent, at 16,321. The Dow had been up as much as 126 points earlier in the day. The Nasdaq composite ended down 10 points, or 0.3 percent, at 4,308. The S&P 500 index rose 5 percent in February, recovering the ground it lost in January. It’s up 0.6 percent for the year. Monster Beverage jumped 4 percent after reporting higher sales of energy drinks.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A rising stock market and a more optimistic outlook among younger Americans have pushed up a measure of U.S. consumer sentiment. The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 81.6 in February from 81.2 in January. The survey found Americans are more upbeat about their prospects than at any time in the past six months.
UNDATED (AP) — Manufacturing in the Chicago area is up more than expected this month. The Institute for Supply Management says its regional index for the Midwest rose to 59.8 in February from 59.6 in January. Economists had expected a decline because of the winter storms that have hit much of the Eastern part of the U.S. in the past several weeks.
CHICAGO (AP) — Online delivery company GrubHub plans to raise up to $100 million through an initial public offering. The Chicago company connects more than 28,000 restaurants with diners in more than 600 U.S. cities. It had 3.4 million active diners at the end of the year. The startup was founded in 2004, making its name catering to college students and through its quirky social media activities.
GENEVA (AP) — Liechtenstein has joined neighbors Switzerland and Austria in moving to block assets that Ukraine’s fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych and some of his associates might have stashed away. The three Alpine countries all have banking systems that have in the past been favored by investors as a place to hide funds. Swiss authorities have also opened a money-laundering investigation into Yanukovych and his son.
WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s word today that U.S. economic growth was significantly slower than first thought at the end of last year. The Commerce Department now says the economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate from October through December, down from a previous estimate of 3.2 percent. That’s mainly because consumers spent less than initially estimated. Economists expect spending to slow further in the current quarter because of winter weather, then rebound once the snow melts.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A realtors group says the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes was essentially flat in January. The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index inched up 0.1 last month to 95. Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale. The index has fallen 9 percent over the past 12 months.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Today marks the end of the two-week period when Sen. Bob Corker promised Volkswagen would announce another line at its factory in Tennessee if workers rejected representation by the United Auto Workers union. The workers did reject the UAW — but so far there’s little sign of any pending announcement. Corker blames the union’s efforts to have vote results voided and a new election held.
GENEVA (AP) — Authorities in Switzerland and Austria are moving to block any assets that Ukraine’s fugitive president and his son might have hidden there. Switzerland’s governing Federal Council says it will immediately block any assets that Viktor and his associates might have in Switzerland. Austria says it’s freezing any bank accounts it finds for Yanukovych, his son and 16 others linked to Ukraine’s former government. Austria says the move is meant to ensure that no money is taken from their accounts while the European Union decides whether to impose sanctions.
MUMBAI, India (AP) — International stock markets are mostly higher today following on Wall Street’s record high despite concern over turmoil in Ukraine. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $102 a barrel. The dollar edged down against the euro and fell against the yen.
WASHINGTON — There are two government economic reports scheduled for release today. The Commerce Department will report the fourth-quarter gross domestic product and the Labor Department will release state unemployment figures for January. Also today, the National Association of Realtors will issue its pending home sales index for January.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s finance minister says the apparent collapse of a major bitcoin exchange was entirely predictable, but that the demise of Mt. Gox happened sooner than he expected. The unplugging earlier this week of the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange and accusations it suffered a catastrophic theft have drawn renewed regulatory attention to the virtual currency. Finance Minister Taro Aso says “No one recognizes them as a real currency. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection today, acknowledging that a significant amount of the virtual currency had gone missing.
BRUSSELS (AP) — Official data show unemployment in the eurozone holding at a near record level. The European Union’s statistics agency says the jobless rate for the 18-country eurozone was unchanged in January at 12 percent while inflation is stable. The unemployment rate has held steady since October.
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