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Tuesday Evening Business Brief

April 8, 2014, 6:34 PM

Tuesday Evening Business Brief
  • An up and down day on Wall Street has finished with the major indexes advancing. While the gains were modest, they do end a three-day slump. The S&P 500 rose nearly seven points, closing just below 1,852. The Dow edged up 10 points to 16,256, while the Nasdaq composite rose 33 points to 4,113.
  • Federal bank regulators are toughening rules for how much capital the eight biggest U.S. banks must hold against potential losses. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have voted to require those banks to raise their minimum ratio of capital to loans to 5 percent from the current 3 percent. The aim is to lessen the risk that the banks could collapse and cause a global meltdown. The Federal Reserve is scheduled to vote later today.
  • The corporate earnings season has opened with Alcoa reporting it lost $178 million in the first quarter as revenue fell on lower aluminum prices. Still that was better than analysts had been expecting. When charges to idle capacity at aluminum smelters and mills are excluded, Alcoa says it would have earned 9 cents per share on revenue of $5.45 billion. Alcoa is being hurt by stubbornly low aluminum prices and is trying to shift away from smelting and into selling finished products for use in building aircraft, cars and other goods. 
  • General Motors says it's investing $449 million in two Detroit-area factories to build the next generation Chevrolet Volt. GM says the investment eventually will bring a second shift at the Detroit assembly plant that makes the hybrid electric car, though it's not saying how many jobs will be added or when the people would be hired. The plant now employs about 1,600 on a single shift.
  • Procter & Gamble says it's adopting a "no-deforestation" policy for its palm oil products. The company says it will work with suppliers to ensure that by 2020 its products do not contribute to deforestation. The move follows weeks of high-profile protests by Greenpeace at Procter & Gamble's Cincinnati headquarters. Greenpeace says today's announcement is a huge step toward protecting Indonesia's rainforests and the communities that depend on them.

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