Monday Evening Business Brief
April 7, 2014, 6:24 PM
- The stock market is on another losing streak. Financial firms and consumer discretionary companies led today's declines. High-growth technology stocks also continued to slump, though not as badly as last week. The S&P 500 fell for a third straight session, dropping 20 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 1,845. The Dow dropped 166 points, or 1 percent, to 16,245. The Nasdaq slipped 47 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,079.
- The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing increased $16.5 billion in February. The category that includes credit cards fell $2.4 billion but was offset by an $18.9 billion increase in borrowing for things like autos and student loans. Analysts say gains in borrowing are a sign that people are more confident and willing to take on debt.
- Computer security experts says there's a lot that could be at risk after Microsoft ends its support for Windows XP tomorrow. The popular operating system has been around for 12 years, and many businesses and consumers are still using it thanks to its reliability. In addition to home computers, XP is used to run everything from water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctor's offices.
- The Federal Trade Commission says it's taking action against the operators of a website called Jerk.com. The commission says the website harvested personal information from Facebook to create profiles labeling people a "Jerk" or "not a Jerk". Consumers were then told they could pay $30 to revise the online profile but got nothing in return. The FTC is asking an administrative law court to halt the company's actions and have it delete improperly obtained information.
- A class of sixth-graders from North Dakota has schooled some of the best college business students in the country on the stock market. A math class at Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo, N.D., enrolled with an online investment company that was holding a university challenge. The Virginia-based McIntire Investment Institute won that contest with an 18.5 percent return. But the Oak Grove math class gained nearly 22 percent, focusing on companies with good track records that they knew, including Netflix, Starbucks and Under Armour.
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