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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

January 2, 2014, 1:14 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

2014 is getting off to a weak start on Wall Street. The major indexes are sliding after ending the year at record levels. Energy stocks are falling along with the price of oil and technology stocks have lost ground after some analysts published gloomy notes on companies in the sector. Trading has been quiet this week with many investors on vacation.

  • Macy's and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have reached a settlement agreement related to a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving J.C. Penney. They say the settlement terms are confidential. Macy's says the agreement doesn't affect its ongoing lawsuit with J.C. Penney Co.
  • Snapchat isn't saying much following a security breach that allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of millions of users. The disappearing-message service popular with young people says only that it's assessing the situation. Earlier this week, hackers reportedly published 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers on a website called snapchatdb.info, which has since been suspended. The breach came less than a week after security experts warned Snapchat that such an attack could take place.
  • Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way to allow people in one place to interact with three-dimensional versions of people or objects in a different location. They hope the technology, called inform, can eventually be used by urban planners and architects. It could also be used by doctors and others who need to look at CT scans.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved 27 first-of-a-kind drugs in 2013, down from a 15-year high of 39 new medications in 2012. Experts say the number of drug approvals declined in 2013 mainly because there were fewer drugs submitted for review. FDA drug approvals are watched closely by analysts as both a barometer of industry innovation and the federal government's efficiency in reviewing new therapies.

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