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Tuesday Evening Business Brief

February 4, 2014, 5:10 PM

Tuesday Evening Business Brief
  • Stocks have recovered some of the ground they lost yesterday as investors took advantage of lower prices to buy stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72 points to close at 15,445. The S&P 500 climbed 13 points to 1,755, while the Nasdaq gained 34 points to 4,031. Fashion retailer Michael Kors was among the big gainers, jumping 17 percent after reporting stronger earnings. Yum! Brands gained 9 percent after posting a better-than-expected earnings report last night.
  • The federal government says it will temporarily suspend sales of U.S. Treasury securities to state and local governments starting at noon on Friday to avoid breaching the nation's borrowing limit. Treasury officials say the move will be followed by other bookkeeping maneuvers aimed at keeping the government functioning until Congress decides to raise the limit.
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates describes the company's new CEO as "a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together." Satya Nadella is a 22-year veteran of Microsoft who has been leading the company's cloud computing business for the past seven months. Nadella says Microsoft's future will be "a mobile-first, cloud-first world" as it offers more software and services over the Internet and works to catch rivals in mobile devices.
  • A broad coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, labor and business leaders, veterans groups and Canada's ambassador to the United States are pushing for quick approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. At a Capitol news conference today, they urged President Barack Obama to approve the pipeline following a State Department report last week that raised no major environmental objections. The pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
  • Congress has given its final approval to a sweeping five-year farm bill. The bill provides a financial cushion for farmers who face unpredictable weather and market conditions. But the bulk of its nearly $100 billion-a-year cost is for the food stamp program, which aids 1 in 7 Americans. The legislation does cut the food stamp program about 1 percent. The Senate vote sends the measure to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.

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