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February 27, 2013 05:31 PM

Wednesday Evening Business Brief

  • It's another up day for Wall Street. Stocks have closed sharply higher for a second day as evidence mounts that the housing market is making a comeback. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 175 points to 14,075, its highest close of the year. It's up nearly 300 points over the past two days, putting it within 100 points of its record high reached in October 2007. The S&P 500 gained 19 points. The Nasdaq composite rose nearly 33 points.
  • There are more signs the U.S. economy is improving but the news isn't providing much momentum for oil prices. Benchmark crude for April delivery rose 13 cents to finish at $92.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was down from a high of $93.37, reached after another positive report on housing and government data showing U.S. oil supplies rose less than expected last week.
  • J.C. Penney is reporting massive losses and plunging sales for its fiscal fourth-quarter as the department store chain's plan to scale back most coupons and sales events has continued to turn off shoppers. The company says it lost $552 million, or $2.51 per share, for the period ended Feb. 2. That compares with a loss of $87 million, or 41 cents per share in the year-ago period. Revenue dropped 28.4 percent to $3.88 billion.
  • There's reassuring news for pregnant women miserable with morning sickness: A very large study in Denmark finds no evidence that using the popular anti-nausea drug Zofran will harm their babies. Dr. Iffath Hoskins, a high-risk pregnancy specialist at NYU Langone Medical Center and a spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the study found no evidence of major birth-related problems, so women should not be afraid to use Zofran if they need it.
  • Royal Dutch Shell says it won't drill for petroleum in the Arctic Ocean in 2013. Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum says the company will "pause" its exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. He says the company made progress in Alaska but Arctic offshore drilling is a long-term program that the company is pursuing in a safe and measured way.

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