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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

February 4, 2014, 1:30 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

Volume has been relatively light on the New York Stock Exchange today, but investors do seem to be buying back in after yesterday's big selloff. About three stocks are rising for every one declining, and the three benchmark indexes are all in positive territory. The Dow was 65 to 70 points higher in mid-afternoon, while the S&P was up more than 10 points and the Nasdaq was about 35 points higher.

  • The National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are teaming up with 10 pharmaceutical companies, seven disease foundations and the drug industry's main trade group in an effort to speed up development of new medicines and bring them to patients faster. The Accelerating Medicines Partnership will focus on the early part of drug research: identifying biological targets in a disease. It aims to develop new diagnostic tests and therapies more quickly and at a lower cost.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimates the budget deficit will fall to $514 billion for the current year, down substantially from last year and the lowest by far since President Barack Obama took office five years ago. The CBO credits higher tax revenues from the rebounding economy and sharp curbs on agency spending as the chief reason for the deficit's short-term decline. Long-term, the CBO sees the deficit worsening by about $100 billion a year through the end of the decade.
  • New York's comptroller is urging Wells Fargo and Bank of America to tell shareholders which employees are capable of exposing them to major losses because of their portfolios and bonus incentives. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is trustee of New York's $173 billion pension fund. He has filed shareholder resolutions at the two banks, saying he wants to better monitor and limit risk. Wells Fargo and Bank of America both say they already file extensive disclosures on risk and top executives' pay.
  • A new report shows Silicon Valley is booming again with higher jobs and income. The region added nearly 47,000 jobs in 2013, up 3 percent over the previous year. Forty-five percent of households now earn more than $100,000. However, Silicon Valley Community Foundation president Emmett Carson says soaring housing costs are driving a larger wedge between the region's rich and poor. Last year, the region gained more than 33,000 new residents but only 6,500 new homes.

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