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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

February 28, 2014, 1:26 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, which closed at an all-time high yesterday, is up up 4 percent this month after a 3.6 percent loss in January, making this its best month since October 2013. For the year, it's up almost 1 percent.

  • A rising stock market and a more optimistic outlook among younger Americans have pushed up a measure of U.S. consumer sentiment. The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 81.6 in February from 81.2 in January. The survey found Americans are more upbeat about their prospects than at any time in the past six months.
  • Manufacturing in the Chicago area is up more than expected this month. The Institute for Supply Management says its regional index for the Midwest rose to 59.8 in February from 59.6 in January. Economists had expected a decline because of the winter storms that have hit much of the Eastern part of the U.S. in the past several weeks.
  • Online delivery company GrubHub plans to raise up to $100 million through an initial public offering. The Chicago company connects more than 28,000 restaurants with diners in more than 600 U.S. cities. It had 3.4 million active diners at the end of the year. The startup was founded in 2004, making its name catering to college students and through its quirky social media activities.
  • Liechtenstein has joined neighbors Switzerland and Austria in moving to block assets that Ukraine's fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych and some of his associates might have stashed away. The three Alpine countries all have banking systems that have in the past been favored by investors as a place to hide funds. Swiss authorities have also opened a money-laundering investigation into Yanukovych and his son.

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