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Thursday Evening Business Brief

March 27, 2014, 7:32 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - For the second day in a row, stocks have ended lower on Wall Street as investors continued to retreat from technology stocks. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 22 points to close at 4,151.23, its lowest level in six weeks. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost three and a-half points and the Dow Jones industrial average was off nearly five.

  • Oil has climbed above $101 a barrel following an upward revision to U.S. growth figures and ongoing concerns about tight supplies. Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery rose $1.02 to close at $101.28 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the highest closing price in three weeks.
     
  • President Barack Obama says more than 6 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the new health insurance markets created by his overhaul. That fulfills a goal set by the Congressional Budget Office and embraced by the White House, though it's still short of the original target of 7 million. There's no word on how many consumers have actually closed the deal by paying their first month's premium. Monday is the deadline to enroll in the new insurance exchanges, although many people will be able to take advantage of extensions announced this week.
     
  • Duke Energy shareholders are urging the company's board to launch an independent investigation into issues surrounding a massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in toxic sludge. A letter sent to Duke's board of directors by a coalition of more than 20 large institutional investors says their confidence has been shaken by the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River. The letter also expresses concern about an ongoing federal criminal probe and what the investors characterize as the company's inadequate response to the environmental disaster.
     
  • Morgan Stanley Smith Barney will pay a $490,000 penalty to settle the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission's charges that it violated rules about keeping certain funds separate. The commission says the Morgan Stanley business unit erroneously transferred $16 million from a customer's account last year but fixed the error the next day. It also says that during 2012, the firm comingled customer and firm funds in a customer account, made errors in its daily computation of funds and improperly titled four of the firm's accounts as customer accounts.

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