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Tuesday Evening Business Brief

January 14, 2014, 5:18 PM

Tuesday Evening Business Brief
  • The stock market has had in its best day of the year so far. The Dow rose for only the third time in 2014, gaining 115 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 16,373. The S&P 500 rose 19 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,838, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 69 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,183. Technology companies surged, with Intel gaining 4 percent, the most of the 30 stocks in the Dow. 
  • Three reports today gauge consumer spending. The National Retail Federation says holiday sales increased 3.8 percent this past season, though they came at the expense of profits, with shoppers demanding discounts. The government says retail sales rose 0.2 percent in December, and a solid 0.7 percent when volatile categories such as autos and gasoline are factored out. And the Commerce Department says business inventories grew 0.4 percent in November, a sign that businesses believe consumers will increase spending in the months ahead. 
  • Two big banks are reporting fourth quarter profits. Wells Fargo says its profit rose 11 percent, with higher interest income helping to offset a steep drop in mortgage lending. Rising rates continue to slow Wells Fargo's mortgage business. It funded $50 billion worth of mortgages in the last three months of 2013, down from $125 billion a year earlier. Also today, JPMorgan Chase reported net income of $5.3 billion in the last three months of 2013, a 7 percent drop from last year as the bank continues to deal with legal problems.
  • Charter Communications is offering more details on its $38 billion takeover bid for Time Warner Cable. The cable company says the contemplated offer of $132.50 per share is 38 percent higher than where Time Warner's stock was trading when Charter first made a bid in June. Time Warner Cable has called the offer "a non-starter."
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state's minimum wage should be higher. At $9.32 an hour, it's already the highest in the nation, but Inslee says too many parents with full-time jobs struggle to put food on the table. The Democratic governor didn't propose a specific minimum wage, but in his "State of the State" address today, he suggested it should be somewhere between $10.82 and $11.82 an hour.

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