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Saturday Business Brief

February 15, 2014, 2:33 PM

Saturday Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Investors are continuing to focus on company earnings and brushing off some weak economic reports. The stock market closed out its best week of the year yesterday. The S&P 500 rose nine points to 1,838. For the week, the index rose 2.3 percent. The Dow climbed 127 points yesterday to 16,154. The Nasdaq rose three points to 4,244, its highest close since July 2000.

  • The price of oil finished the week with a small gain. Yesterday, benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery fell 5 cents to close at $100.30 a barrel in New York. For the week, oil gained 42 cents. As for drivers, the average price of gasoline nationwide rose for a seventh straight day and is now at $3.34 a gallon.
  • Employees at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have rejected the United Auto Workers. The 712 to 626 vote is a big blow to the union's efforts to organize Southern plants run by foreign automakers. About 1,500 workers were eligible to vote during three days of balloting that ended last night. Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the plant to make their sales pitch.
  • North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is denying he had any talks with Duke Energy executives or lobbyists about his administration's proposed deal to settle environmental violations at two of the company's coal ash dumps for $99,000. The deal was withdrawn after last week's massive coal ash spill into the Dan River. The agreement was opposed by environmentalists who said it would have done nothing to require Duke to clean up its toxic dumps. McCrory worked at Duke 28 years.
  • A hard-fought auction for the remaining assets of failed electric-vehicle maker Fisker Automotive is over. It ended yesterday with a winning bid by a Chinese auto-parts conglomerate. The Wanxiang Group beat out Hybrid Technology with a final bid of $149.2 million in cash and other considerations, including Fisker's plant in Wilmington, Del. On Tuesday, a Delaware bankruptcy judge will consider whether to approve the sale.

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