Stocks Finish Week Mixed on Urkraine Concerns
Business Roundup for Friday, March 7.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are finishing mixed after an indecisive day of trading. Traders are worried about escalating tensions in Ukraine. The S&P 500 managed a small gain, enough to set its latest record high. The index closed 1 point higher at 1,878. The Dow Jones industrial average rose nearly 31 points to 16,452. The Nasdaq composite fell 16 points to 4,336.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The efforts of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to make his state a tax-cutting example for the nation may have taken a hit. The state Supreme Court has ruled that Kansas must spend more money on its public schools — and that the current amount of school funding is unconstitutional. But the ruling stopped short of telling lawmakers exactly how much to spend. Kansas has enacted sweeping cuts to income taxes in the last two years, reducing the amount of available resources for education funding. Now lawmakers could be forced to reconsider those cuts.
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is buying more renewable energy than any other state in the nation. And a report by national and state environmental groups says the state’s efforts have reduced pollution by the equivalent of removing a million cars from the road over the past few years. A 2009 state law allowed communities to buy their own electricity, rather than relying on a central purchasing agency. Since then, more than 600 Illinois communities have adopted aggregation, which allows them to bundle residential and small business customers to buy cheaper electricity in bulk from smaller suppliers.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean says it had a record year for profits and saw revenue growth of 3 percent. CEO Chris McCormick told workers today that after four consecutive years of growth, the Maine-based retailer is ready to accelerate expansion plans. He says the privately held company plans its largest single-year capital investment and will spend an additional $100 million on website changes, retail expansion and business systems. McCormick says the company has been conservative for the past few years and is now ready to “grab market share.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Samsung is unveiling a new free music service for its phones. The South Korean gadget maker says its Milk Music service includes over 200 stations and 13 million songs. The app is designed to be easy to use and highly customizable, but it will compete with numerous streaming music services including Pandora, Spotify and Apple’s iTunes Radio. Samsung says it sees room for improvement in the services that are now available.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened slightly in January as a rise in imports of oil and other foreign goods offset a solid increase in exports. The Commerce Department says the trade deficit increased to $39.1 billion, up 0.3 percent from December’s revised $39 billion deficit. Exports climbed 0.6 percent, led by sales of U.S.-made machinery, aircraft and medical equipment. But imports rose by the same percentage, due to a jump in imports of petroleum. Imports of food and machinery also rose.
DETROIT (AP) — The federal government is ordering child seat maker Graco to explain why it didn’t include 1.8 million infant seats in a recall for faulty buckles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Graco has until March 20 to explain why last month’s recall of 3.8 million child seats didn’t include infant seats, which have the same buckles that can get stuck on the child seats. Graco has said the child seat buckles get stuck because children drop food or drinks on them.
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Facebook plans to build a new data center at its server farm in northern Sweden. The company says new technology will be used that will double the speed of construction, including pre-made modular sections that are assembled on-site. The plant inaugurated last June is Facebook’s first outside the United States. The location was chosen partly because of the cold climate, which is crucial for maintaining the servers’ temperature.
SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — The Children’s Place Retail Stores says it expects to close 125 underperforming stores through 2016 as part of its efforts to improve its profitability. The retailer also reported disappointing quarterly revenue and gave a dismal forecast. The Secaucus company said that its net income fell 18 percent to $15.7 million, or 69 cents per share, for the quarter that ended February 1st.
MUMBAI, India (AP) — International stock markets were muted today as investors turned cautious ahead of the release of a key U.S. employment report and Chinese economic indicators. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $102 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and weakened against the yen.
PLEASANTON, Calif. (AP) – Safeway says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner of Albertsons and several other supermarket chains. The acquisition is worth about $7.64 billion in cash, and pending other transactions could top more than $9 billion. It comes amid ongoing consolidation in the supermarket industry.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — United Airlines has opened its new widebody aircraft maintenance hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport. Airline officials say the new $35 million facility expands United’s maintenance capability for widebody aircraft by 33 percent at the airport in northern New Jersey. It also will help support United’s fleet of 787st.
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