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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

March 21, 2014, 1:36 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks appear to be losing some of the momentum they had this morning, though the major indexes still appear on track to finish the week with a solid gain. The Dow has been as much as 125 points higher today, but by mid-afternoon it was only up only 30 points. The S&P 500 meanwhile has given back all of its gains for the day and is wavering between positive and negative territory. The Nasdaq composite remains lower.

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin has ordered the country's central bank to help clients of Rossiya, a Russian lender hit by U.S sanctions. Rossiya and another Russian lender, SMP, say Visa and MasterCard have stopped providing services to them. U.S. officials describe Rossiya as a personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation. Putin denies he has an account there but says he's now opening one and will have his salary transferred there.
  • A federal appeals court has handed a defeat to a coalition of retail groups that challenged the Federal Reserve's cap on how much banks can charge businesses for handling debit card transactions. The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia overturned a lower court's decision that favored the merchants who said the cap on so-called "swipe fees" was too high. The fee cap averages 24 cents per transaction. Before the cap, fees averaged 44 cents per swipe.
  • Tiffany & Co. is reporting a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter despite improved sales during the holiday season. Tiffany's earnings were dragged down by a hefty charge tied to an unfavorable arbitration ruling. But even without the charge, its adjusted earnings missed Wall Street expectations. Still, analysts are expecting the company to do better than it's forecasting, and Tiffany shares are higher in afternoon trading.
  • Media General is buying fellow TV broadcaster LIN Media in a deal worth about $1.6 billion in cash and stock. The combined company would own and operate or service a combined 74 stations across 46 markets. The companies say the deal is worth about $27.82 per share and represents an 87 percent premium over LIN's Thursday closing stock price.

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