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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

April 22, 2014, 1:54 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief
  • The stock market appears headed for its sixth gain in a row as more U.S. companies report solid earnings. The Standard & Poor's 500 is up about 12 points in afternoon trading, while the Dow is up 100 and the Nasdaq composite has gained 45.
  • The job market for new college graduates is brightening somewhat. The Labor Department reports that the unemployment rate for last year's graduates was 10.9 percent. That's down from 13.3 percent for 2012 graduates and the lowest rate since 2007, before the Great Recession.
  • Supreme Court justices are weighing whether they can side with broadcasters in a copyright challenge to an Internet startup company without threatening the continuing development of cloud computing. The high court heard arguments today over Aereo, which takes free TV signals from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch on laptop computers, smart phones and other portable devices. Several justices expressed concern that a ruling for the broadcasters could hurt the development of cloud computing.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to speed up development and approval of medical devices that treat life-threatening diseases and debilitating conditions. The program would give companies earlier access to FDA staff to discuss their products. The proposal would fast track high-risk devices that represent medical breakthroughs or treatments for conditions that have no other treatments.
  • Unilever produces disposable containers that clutter landfills around the world, but today the company says it's taking action to reduce the trash. Unilever says it is adopting technology that will cut the amount of plastic it needs to use in bottles by 15 percent. The process involves injecting tiny gas pockets into bottle walls. Unilever is introducing the technique first in its Dove body wash bottles. With some 33 million sold in Europe last year, Unilever says the new technology will result in a savings of 275 tons of plastic.

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