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Monday Evening Business Brief

July 28, 2014, 6:30 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief
  • Stocks have finished mixed, with the Dow and the S&P slightly higher and the Nasdaq composite a bit lower. Stocks had drifted between slight gains and losses during the afternoon, as traders prepared for a week loaded with reports on the economy and corporate profits.
  • Over the opposition of consumer groups, the House has easily passed legislation allowing airline advertising to emphasize the base price of tickets, before taxes and fees are added. The bipartisan legislation would roll back federal regulations that since 2012 have required ads to most prominently display the full ticket price. Under the bill, the base price could be the figure most prominently shown in ads and ticket-selling websites as long as taxes and fees are displayed separately, such as in footnotes or pop-up ads.
  • Dollar Tree says it's buying rival discounter Family Dollar for $8.5 billion, significantly broadening its reach as it looks to fend off Wal-Mart, which has been stepping up its courtship of lower-income customers. The deal makes Dollar Tree the biggest player in the dollar store segment, with its more than 13,000 combined locations eclipsing current leader Dollar General Corp., which has about 11,300.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has announced it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. It is the second-largest fine the agency has proposed against an airline. The largest proposed fine was against American Airlines for $24.2 million in August 2010. That one was ultimately settled for $24.9 million as part of American's bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Darden Restaurants says CEO and chairman Clarence Otis is stepping down as the company fights to fix its flagship Olive Garden chain following the sale of Red Lobster. The company, based in Orlando, Florida, also says it's changing its corporate policies to split the chairman and CEO roles. Darden says it appointed its current lead independent director, Charles Ledsinger, Jr., as independent non-executive chairman, effective immediately. Otis will serve as CEO until a successor is named, or Dec. 31, whichever comes first.

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