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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

January 28, 2014, 2:08 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are mostly higher for the first time in four days. In afternoon trading, the Dow was up about 90 points, while the S&P 500 had added ten, and the Nasdaq was up a little more than 6 points. Tech stocks have been held back by Apple, after its latest financial results fell short of expectations.

  • Apple's stock has taken a tumble today. Last night the company reported that it sold more iPhones and iPads than ever in the first quarter than in any prior quarter, but investors were expecting even bigger things. Apple also announced a second-quarter revenue forecast of $43 billion, which also was below Wall Street's estimate. Apple shares have been down as much as 8 percent today. But the downbeat view isn't unanimous. Carl Icahn took advantage of the price drop, tweeting that he'd purchased another $500 million worth of Apple shares.
  • Pfizer shares are up today after its fourth-quarter financial report beat Wall Street's expectations for revenue and adjusted earnings. The drugmaker reports $13.56 billion in revenue and 56 cents in earnings per share. However, competition from generic drugs continues to erode sales, and Pfizer's profit fell 59 percent.
  • Central banks in emerging economies have been moving fast to contain the damage from a bout of market turmoil. The People's Bank of China injected more money into the country's financial markets today to ease strained credit conditions. India's central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates to prop up its ailing currency. And Turkey's central bank is signaling that it is preparing to raise interest rates to address higher inflation and a dropping currency.
  • Martin Marietta Materials is buying Texas Industries. The all-stock deal is worth more than $2 billion. Martin Marietta says the combined company will be a leading supplier of aggregates and heavy building materials. Martin Marietta sells granite, limestone, sand and gravel, while Texas Industries makes cement and building materials. Together, they have more than 400 quarries, mines, distribution yards, and plants in 36 states, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean Islands.  Its shares were up more than 4 percent in afternoon trading.

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