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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

April 29, 2014, 1:18 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stock prices are higher in afternoon trading on more strong corporate earnings. Merck, Ameriprise Financial and the diesel engine maker Cummins are among those beating expectations. The S&P 500 index is about 10 points higher, the Dow is up 100 and the Nasdaq composite has added 35 points.
  • IBM is raising its quarterly dividend by 15 cents to $1.10 per share. IBM says this is the 19th consecutive year that the company has boosted its quarterly dividend. The dividend will be paid on June 10 to shareholders of record on May 9. Shares are up more than $2 this afternoon, trading above $195.
  • Netflix will pay Verizon Communications for a more direct connection in an effort to clear up the congestion that's been bogging down its Internet video service. Netflix is reducing its reliance on go-betweens because the streaming speeds of its movies and TV shows have been slowing in recent months. Netflix negotiated a similar arrangement with Comcast earlier this year.
  • Closing arguments are underway in the legal battle over smartphone technology between Apple and Samsung. In federal court in San Jose, California, Apple's attorney took all of four minutes to invoke the memory of Steve Jobs, as he told jurors that Samsung brazenly ripped off smartphone features that Jobs and other Apple executives had invented. Samsung says it's Apple that's stolen its technology.
  • A South Carolina lab will lead an independent review of chemical fumes reported by workers at waste storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state. The U.S. Energy Department supports the review to resolve questions raised this spring after more than two dozen workers received medical attention following apparent exposure to chemical vapors. Hanford is the nation's most contaminated nuclear weapons site.

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