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Stocks Close Flat after Report of Modest Hiring

 

Business Roundup for Wednesday, March 5.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks wound up pretty much where they started after a report of modest hiring gains at U.S. businesses failed to excite investors. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed down a fraction of a point at 1,873 Wednesday. The index closed at an all-time high the day before as tensions eased in Ukraine. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 35 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,360. The Nasdaq composite edged up six points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,357. Payroll processor ADP said U.S. businesses added 139,000 jobs last month, up slightly from January. Exxon Mobil fell 3 percent. The company said it would cut capital spending this year. Brown-Forman rose 4 percent after the company reported better sales of its flagship Jack Daniel’s brand and other liquors.WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey finds that U.S. companies added slightly more jobs in February than in the previous month. Payroll processor ADP says businesses added 139,000 jobs last month, up from only 127,000 in January. But January’s figure was revised sharply lower from an original estimate of 175,000. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government’s more comprehensive report, coming out Friday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Target’s chief information officer is resigning, effective today, as the retailer overhauls its information security and compliance division in the wake of a massive pre-Christmas data breach. Beth Jacob has had the job since 2008 and oversaw teams in the U.S. and India. Target says it’s working with an outside adviser to help it evaluate its technology, structure, processes and talent.

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time, former IRS official Lois Lerner is refusing to answer questions at a congressional hearing on the targeting of tea party groups. She invoked her constitutional right not to incriminate herself when she appeared today at a hearing by the House Oversight Committee. Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012.

PARIS (AP) — The European Union is putting together a $15 billion aid package for Ukraine. The new loans and grants will help support Kiev while it negotiates a broad bailout program with the International Monetary Fund. The EU is also freezing the assets of 18 people held responsible of misusing state funds in Ukraine.

TOKYO (AP) — A sense of relief over the easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine lifted Asian stocks today, but failed to sustain gains for European markets in early trading there. Benchmark crude oil rose slightly to remain above $103 a barrel. The dollar gained slightly against the yen and was little changed against the euro.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There are two major economic reports due out today. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for February this morning. The last couple of readings have been above 50, indicating expansion. Then in the afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book survey of regional business conditions. There are also hearings on the budget and data security.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government is pledging to promote sustainable growth by opening state-dominated industries to private investment and making banks more market-oriented. Beijing also says ti wants to keep this year’s economic expansion at a relatively robust 7.5 percent. China’s top economic official says Beijing will promote consumer spending, ease exchange rate controls and improve access to credit for productive businesses.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is considering whether to abandon a quarter-century of precedent and make it tougher for investors to band together to sue corporations for securities fraud. The justices hear arguments today in an appeal by Halliburton Co. that seeks to block a class-action lawsuit claiming the energy services company inflated its stock price. A group of investors says it lost money after revelations the company misrepresented revenues caused a downturn.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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