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Monday Evening Business Brief

April 14, 2014, 6:08 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief
  • Stocks have started clawing back some of the ground they lost last week. The Dow rose 146 points and finished at 16,173.24 today. The S&P 500 rose nearly 15 points to close at 1,830.61. And the Nasdaq composite rose almost 23 points to 4,022.69. Investors were encouraged by solid earnings from Citigroup and a pickup in retail sales last month.
  • European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says foreign ministers have decided to sanction more Russians with asset freezes and visa bans as a sign of opposition to Moscow's policy toward Ukraine. So far, she's not said how many people will be affected or named them. Meanwhile, the White House says there's "overwhelming evidence" that Russia is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine and its "actively evaluating" its response.
  • It looks like the health insurance subsidies in the Affordable Care Act may not cost as much as originally projected. The Congressional Budget Office estimates they'll total a little more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years, instead of almost $1.2 trillion. The cut results largely from tighter cost controls by insurance companies offering plans on health care exchanges. The CBO is also forecasting smaller federal deficits starting this year, thanks largely to lower spending on health care.
  • Google has bought Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but Google says Titan's atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to remote parts of the world and be used in disaster relief and assessing environmental damage. The satellites are still in development and not yet commercially available, but they reportedly can stay in the air for as long as five years.
  • A new study finds Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperforms all of them. SquareTrade says the S5 scores well because it's water resistant and has a sturdy back panel. The iPhone 5s wins points for being an inch smaller diagonally than Android phones, making it easier to grip and less likely to slip out of a user's hands. Still, SquareTrade says all the smartphones it tested had a medium risk of breakage and the differences weren't major.

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