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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

April 4, 2014, 1:24 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

A plunge in the technology sector is dragging stocks lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Two hours before the close, the Nasdaq composite index was down about 100 points. The market had opened slightly higher on news that U.S. employers added to their payrolls last month. The overall jobs report was mixed, however, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.7 percent.

  • The Obama administration says 3 million Americans signed up for Medicaid under the new health care law as of the end of February. It's the first accounting of how much the safety-net health program has grown since implementation of the law. Many were newly eligible because of the law's Medicaid expansion. The total is incomplete because a handful of states didn't report their numbers, and it doesn't include March sign-ups. About half the states have accepted a Medicaid expansion in the health law.
  • A coalition of human rights groups is launching a campaign to curb the international trade in surveillance software. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and London-based Privacy International are among those hoping to check the export of powerful spyware. They say exports of sophisticated espionage programs are chilling free speech across the globe. The campaign launched today may run up against European efforts to boost overseas sales of security software.
  • The Jennifer Lopez-backed company that owns NUVOtv, an English-language cable entertainment network aimed at Latinos, has bought the Fuse music network. SiTV Media says it has agreed to pay $226 million to Fuse's owner, the Madison Square Garden Co. SiTV reportedly outbid Revolt, the music network started by Sean Combs. Fuse is currently in 73 million homes, more than twice that of NUVOtv.  Lopez is a shareholder and chief creative officer at NUVOtv.
  • J.C. Penney is hoping that some supermodel magic will win over shoppers in the lingerie department. The beleaguered department store chain is launching an exclusive lingerie collection in a partnership with Elle Macpherson. The collection will be in 300 of Penney's 1,100 stores starting April 11. Penney says it will wait to see how the brand fares before deciding whether to roll it out to its other stores.

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