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March 05, 2013 02:31 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

  • Stocks remain in rally mode on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average surged past its record high this morning and hasn't looked back. The Dow has more than doubled since falling to a low of 6,547 in March of 2009. It's up nearly 9 percent for the year. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are also up sharply today.
  • One stock that isn't surging today is J.C. Penney. The struggling department store chain's pummeled stock hit a four-year low after media reports said a large shareholder sold of a chunk of its stock, and another was shopping its shares around. The company has reported big losses and sales declines for four straight quarters.
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledges that it will be "several months" before meat inspectors are furloughed as part of the across-the-board spending cuts. The White House has used the meat inspector furloughs as one example of how the cuts will affect the economy. Vilsack also tells the House Agriculture Committee that each meat inspector will likely be furloughed 11 or 12 days, not 15 days as the Obama administration earlier claimed.
  • The environment may be paying a price for a recovering economy. New federal figures show the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2-degree increase, the upper limit set by many governments. Scientists say the rise in CO2 reflects the global economy revving up and burning more fossil fuels, especially in China.
  • Kia says the name of its new concept car, Provo, is meant to suggest "provocative." But in Ireland it brings to mind bombings and shootings. "Provo" is the nickname for the Provisional IRA, the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army. Lawmakers from Northern Ireland are asking the South Korean carmaker to change the name of its planned super-mini sports coupe, which is still years away from production.

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