Tuesday Evening Business Brief
May 6, 2014, 6:32 PM
- A slower increase in March housing prices than the month before is one of the factors that have caused a drag on stock prices today. U.S. companies also reported weaker earnings. Twitter plunged 18 percent after insiders were allowed to sell stock for first time since the company's initial public offering in November. Other Internet stocks also fell. The Dow lost 129 points. The S&P fell 16 points and the Nasdaq shed 57 points.
- Top executives at major U.S. companies are reconsidering or withdrawing their participation in a Russian international economic forum. They've been asked by the Obama administration to skip this year's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum because of Russia's intervention in Ukraine. Morgan Stanley Chairman James Gorman, who is listed as a forum participant, has canceled his plans to attend. And Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, also listed as a participant in the forum's website, is also unlikely to participate.
- Office Depot is planning to close at least 400 U.S. stores because of its merger with OfficeMax. The office supply retailer had 1,900 stores in the U.S. at the end of the first quarter, and plans to shutter 150 in the U.S. this year. All of the closures are anticipated to occur by the end of 2016. Office Depot and OfficeMax completed their $1.2 billion deal last November.
- Former Anheuser-Busch head August Busch IV has spent part of his day on the witness stand in a court in St. Louis, where a one-time top-ranking female executive is suing for gender discrimination. Francine Katz says her salary as vice president of communications and consumer affairs was less than half of what her male predecessor was paid. Katz was also a member of the company's influential strategy committee. The beer giant was purchased by Belgian brewer InBev in a 2008.
- Fast food protests by workers are going global. Labor organizers say there will be demonstrations for higher wages next week in more than 30 countries including the U.S., Argentina, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand and Panama. The push is getting financial and organizational support from the Service Employees International Union. Workers in the U.S. are calling for pay of $15 per hour, just over twice the current minimum wage.
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