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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

March 27, 2014, 1:46 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street as declines in technology companies outweigh better-than-expected news on jobless claims and fourth-quarter economic growth. Technology stocks are selling off for a second day.

  • Western nations are rushing to help Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund is pledging up to $18 billion in loans, and the U.S. House and Senate have voted to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees. Meanwhile, Ukraine's prime minister is warning residents they are going to feel pain from the necessary financial reforms ahead, and that home energy prices are certain to rise quickly.
  • GlaxoSmithKline is recalling the weight loss drug Alli after receiving reports of unknown pills and tablets in the bottles. The over-the-counter drug comes in a turquoise blue capsule with a dark blue band and the text "60 Orlistat." However, the British drugmaker says people in seven states have reported finding tablets and capsules of various shapes and colors in the bottles. The states are New York, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.
  • Microsoft is unveiling Office for the iPad today. The software suite includes programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and works on rival Apple's hugely popular tablet computer. Office for the iPad corrects layout problems that users experienced when accessing files they had saved on Microsoft's cloud storage platform, OneDrive. The app has touch-enabled features that allow users to drag photos around Word documents and grab elements like pie charts in Excel.
  • The Senate has approved, by a voice vote, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Small Business Administration. Maria Contreras-Sweet immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when she was five years old. She helped found a private equity firm that provided money to small California businesses and later helped start ProAmerica Bank, which helped small and medium-sized businesses. She also was secretary of California's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

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