Stocks are edging lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street, hurt by weak performances from retailers. Shares of Nordstrom, Macy's and J.C. Penney fell because of worries that shoppers might be pulling back on spending. A bleak outlook from Nordstrom late yesterday followed similar forecasts from Wal-Mart and Macy's earlier this week.
- Regulators have approved the proposed $8 billion sale of the New York Stock Exchange to a much younger futures exchange. The Securities and Exchange Commission says it's authorized the takeover of the two-centuries-old NYSE parent by Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, or ICE. The acquiring company, founded in 2000, has expanded rapidly through acquisitions over the past decade. The merger also must be approved by several market regulators in Europe. The NYSE's parent is NYSE Euronext, which includes stock exchanges in Europe.
- AOL is laying off up to half the workforce at its Patch local news sites. Up to 500 of Patch's 1,000 employees will be laid off, including 350 who got pink slips today. AOL says it's shuttering or consolidating about 150 of the 900 sites while looking for partners for others. The layoffs amount to about 9 percent of AOL's total workforce of 5,500.
- General Motors is recalling nearly 293,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars because the power-assisted brakes can fail. GM says brake problems have caused 27 low-speed crashes but no injuries. The recall affects Cruzes made in Lordstown, Ohio, from the 2011 and 2012 model years.
- Merck is suspending sales of its cattle feed additive Zilmax in the U.S. and Canada while it studies a possible link between Zilmax and lameness in cattle. Merck says stopping sales will allow it to set up a study protocol and follow certain cattle to find out possible causes of lameness and other mobility problems. Tyson Foods said last week that it would stop buying animals that were fed Zilmax, citing experts who said it may be causing cattle to become lame.