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Tuesday Evening Business Brief

September 3, 2013, 5:19 PM

Tuesday Evening Business Brief
  • Renewed worries about a U.S.-led attack are acting as a drag on stocks. The Dow rose nearly 24 points to close at 14,834 today. Microsoft and Verizon also held the bluechip index back, slumping after both announced deal news that investors didn't like. The S&P 500 rose six points, while the Nasdaq composite rose 22.
  • Standard & Poor's is calling a U.S. government lawsuit against the ratings agency "retaliation" over its downgrade of the country's credit rating. The Department of Justice filed civil charges against the rating agency in February and is seeking $5 billion in penalties. The suit claims S&P refused to warn investors that the housing market was collapsing because it would be bad for business. It also says S&P knowingly inflated ratings of risky mortgage investments that helped trigger an economic crisis. S&P denies the claims.
  • H&R Block Inc. says its loss widened by 7 percent in its most recent quarter. The tax preparer's earnings report shows it booked higher operating expenses and other costs, offsetting a sharp rise in revenue from May through July. H&R Block reported a loss of more than $115 million, or 42 cents per share, for the quarter ended July 31.
  • Investors in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme orchestrated by R. Allen Stanford are starting to get back some of the money the former Texas financier squandered. However, many who lost their life savings in Stanford's scam will receive only a fraction of the money they invested. Court documents show that the largest claim being paid out is about $50,000. The smallest is $2.81. Stanford was sentenced last year to 110 years in prison on 13 fraud-related counts.
  • Amazon is upgrading its Kindle Paperwhite electronic book reader with a sharper display, expanded dictionary and faster computer hardware. Amazon also says that customers will be able to get books they bought from Amazon in paper form on their Kindle, for prices ranging from free to $3. The MatchBook program covers book purchases since 1995.

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