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Thursday Evening Business Brief

March 20, 2014, 7:14 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - The stock market is closing higher as encouraging news about the U.S. economy outweighs concerns that interest rates could start climbing sooner than many people had expected. The S&P 500 index rose 11 points to close at 1,872 today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 109 points to 16,331.The Nasdaq composite climbed 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,319.

  • Oil is falling on concerns that demand is waning. Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery dropped 94 cents to $99.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract expires today. Most trading has moved to the May contract, which fell 27 cents at $98.90 a barrel.
  • Nike says strong global demand for its products helped third-quarter net income beat expectations. The world's largest athletic clothing maker says not counting income from discontinued operations, earnings rose 3 percent, to $685 million, or 76 cents per share. Discontinued operations added another $204 million in profit. Revenue rose 13 percent to $6.97 billion.
  • The Federal Reserve says all but one of the nation's 30 largest banks are better able to withstand a severe U.S. recession and global downturn than at any time since the financial crisis. The Fed's annual "stress tests" show only Zions Bancorp failed to make the cut. The Fed will announce next week whether it'll approve plans by some banks to increase dividends or buy their own stock.
  • Google says it's improved encryption technology for its email service. That will make it harder for the National Security Agency to intercept messages moving among Google's worldwide data centers. Among documents leaked by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden were reports the agency had secretly tapped into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers.

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