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April 16, 2014 06:50 PM

Wednesday Evening Business Brief

Stocks are higher for a third day in a row after more U.S. companies reported solid earnings and on encouraging news about China's economy. The S&P 500 index rose 19 points, or 1 percent, to close at 1,862. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 162 points, or 1 percent, to 16,424. The Nasdaq rose 52 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,086.

  • Oil is up a penny today. Worries about the upheaval in Ukraine canceled out a huge increase in U.S. oil supplies. Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery closed at $103.76 a barrel in New York. Meanwhile, the average retail price of gasoline rose one cent to $3.65 per gallon today. It typically rises around this time of year as refiners close for maintenance and switch to making more expensive summer blends of gasoline. The price is up 13 cents from a month ago.
     
  • IBM says its first-quarter earnings fell because of a large charge related to reorganizing its workforce. Revenue fell amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business. IBM says it earned $2.38 billion, or $2.29 a share. That's down 21 percent from $3.03 billion, or $2.70 a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $2.54 a share. Revenue fell 4 percent to $22.5 billion.
     
  • American Express says its net income climbed 12 percent in the first quarter, helped by higher spending by its cardholders. AmEx says its net income rose to $1.43 billion, or $1.33 per share. That compares with net income of $1.28 billion, or $1.15 per share, in the same period of 2013. Revenue rose 4 percent to $8.2 billion from $7.88 billion the year before.
     
  • Google is dealing with a persistent downturn in advertising prices while spending more money to hire more employees and invest in daring ideas. Those factors caused its first-quarter earnings growth to falter. The results announced today fell below analyst projections. Google earned $3.45 billion, or $5.04 per share. That was up 3 percent from $3.3 billion, or $4.97 per share, last year. Revenue rose 19 percent to $15.4 billion.
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