Stocks are mixed in what's been a quiet trading day on Wall Street with little economic data or company earnings. Analysts say the market is likely to remain in a holding pattern until traders hear from Janet Yellen tomorrow in her first testimony before Congress since becoming head of the Federal Reserve. The Dow was lower in afternoon trading, but only by about 5 points. The S&P was up a point, while the Nasdaq was about 20 points higher.
- Carl Icahn is backing off his campaign to pressure Apple's board of directors into spending $50 billion to buy back its own slumping stock. The activist investor outlined the about-face in a letter to Apple's shareholders, citing a recent flurry of stock repurchases as one of the reasons for his change of heart. He also said he is excited about CEO Tim Cook's pledge to release new products this year that will expand Apple's line-up beyond smartphones, tablets and personal computers.
- The American Medical Association is backing a bill that would change the way Medicare pays doctors. The AMA's endorsement provides a boost for bipartisan legislation that would provide financial incentives to reward quality, cost-effective care and encourage doctors and other professionals to work in teams to keep patients as healthy as possible. The current payment system has proven unworkable, relying on automatic cuts to doctors to limit Medicare spending.
- Federal health experts are taking a second look at the heart safety of pain medications. At a two-day meeting, the Food and Drug Administration is examining the latest research on anti-inflammatory medicines and considering whether naproxen - the key ingredient in Bayer's Aleve and many other generic pain pills - carries a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than rival medications like ibuprofen.
- Incidents of pilots trying to land at the wrong airport are rare, but perhaps more regular that most realize. An Associated Press review of government safety records finds at least 150 flights since the early 1990s ran into such problems. San Jose, Calif., is a particular trouble spot, with half a dozen instances in which pilots prepared to land at Moffett Field, a joint civilian-military airport, instead of San Jose International Airport, about 10 miles to the southeast. One controller says it happens several times every winter in bad weather.