Friday Evening Business Brief
February 21, 2014, 5:15 PM
- Stocks are ending broadly lower as investors assess corporate earnings reports. That leaves the S&P 500 index down slightly for the week, following two straight weeks of gains. The index lost 3 ½ points, or 0.2 percent today, closing at 1,836. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 30, or 0.2 percent, to 16,103. The Nasdaq composite fell four points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,263.
- The price of oil is up 2 percent for the week, But it fell slightly today. The price remained above $102 because of strong U.S. demand for heating oil during a bitter winter. Benchmark crude for April delivery fell 55 cents to close at $102.20 a barrel in New York. Meanwhile, the average retail price of gasoline has risen for the 14th straight day, to $3.39 per gallon.
- The manufacturer of Black Hawk helicopters says it's eliminating 600 jobs because of reduced military spending due to budget cuts and a scaled-back U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Most of the jobs are in Connecticut. Sikorsky Aircraft, a Connecticut-based subsidiary of United Technologies, has about 8,200 employees in the state and 16,500 worldwide.
- The United Auto Workers is challenging last week's close vote at Tennessee's Volkswagen plant. The workers voted against union representation 712-626. The UAW filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board asserting that "interference by politicians and outside special interest groups" swayed the election. In particular, the appeal takes aim at Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker.
- Wearable technology maker Fitbit is recalling its $130 Force wristband after the fitness gear caused skin problems for some customers. The company says users may have had allergic reactions to nickel in the device or materials used in the strap or adhesives. Fitbit is offering a full refund. The Force can track steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burned.
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