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Monday Evening Business Brief

April 21, 2014, 6:25 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief
  • The stock market has registered some modest gains to start the week. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 7 points to 1,871.89. The index has risen five straight days, its longest streak of gains since October. Close to a third of the companies in S&P 500 are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings this week. The Dow climbed 40 points to 16,449.25, and the Nasdaq composite gained 26 points to 4,121.55.
  • Netflix is raising its Internet video subscription prices by as much as $2 per month this summer to help pay for more programming such as its popular political drama "House of Cards." The price increase will be imposed on new customers by July. The company says current subscribers will continue to pay $8 per month for a "generous time period." Netflix announced the price increase as part of its first-quarter earnings report. It earned $53 million, or 86 cents per share, up from 5 cents per share last year.
  • President Barack Obama's administration is siding with American steel producers in an international trade dispute. The Department of Commerce today ruled that steel reinforcing bar imported from Mexico and Turkey unfairly undercuts U.S. prices. The preliminary decision means companies in Mexico and Turkey will be subject to immediate duties. A final determination on the matter won't be made until summer.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching a program that will provide $150 million in investment capital to help small agriculture-related businesses in rural areas to expand. On a visit to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the formation of the Rural Business Investment Company, a for-profit firm licensed by the USDA to invest in businesses that otherwise might not have the capital to grow.
  • A student data processing organization is shutting down. The nonprofit inBloom was started with $100 million in financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corp. to give educators a tool to personalize instruction. But the idea of storing sensitive student data in cloud-based servers had parents and lawmakers expressing worries about privacy and security. InBloom's chief calls it a "missed opportunity" for teachers and school districts.

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