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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

May 9, 2014, 1:17 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are little changed in afternoon trading on Wall Street, amid a mix of corporate earnings news. CBS and Ralph Lauren were among the stocks declining, while Gap, Hilton and Symantec rose.

  • New figures on job postings suggest the job market is improving in fits and starts. The Labor Department says U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs and slowed hiring a bit in March, though the declines came after healthy gains the previous month. Employers posted 4 million jobs in March, down 2.7 percent from February. But February's total nearly matched November's for the highest level of openings since January 2008, when the recession was just beginning.
     
  • President Barack Obama says more than 300 companies and state and local governments are pledging to use solar technology. He also announced executive actions aimed at increasing energy efficiency in buildings and appliances. Obama spoke at a Wal-Mart in California, angering labor unions and pay equity advocates who say the giant retailer pays low wages. The White House says Wal-Mart was chosen because it has committed to doubling the number of solar energy projects at its stores.
     
  • A federal appeals court has rejected an industry challenge to stronger health standards for soot. The court says the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency a lot of leeway in the setting of air quality standards. It's the second recent court victory for the EPA. Last month, the Supreme Court backed federal limits on smokestack emissions that cross state lines.
     
  • A government watchdog says the federal agency responsible for making sure states keep their pipelines safe isn't doing its job. The Transportation Department's inspector general says the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration isn't ensuring that key state inspectors are properly trained, or that the riskiest pipelines are inspected frequently enough. The findings come more than three years after a gas pipeline explosion killed eight people, injured 58 and destroyed much of a subdivision south of San Francisco.

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