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Tuesday Midday Business Brief

December 31, 2013, 9:53 AM

Tuesday Midday Business Brief
  • Stocks are heading higher in late morning trading today, as investors close out their positions on the last day of trading for 2013. The Dow Jones industrial average is up 34 points, to 16,538. The S&P 500 is up four points, to 1,845. And the Nasdaq composite is up 14 points, to 4,168.
  • Home prices in most U.S. cities increased at a slower pace in October from September, as higher mortgage rates weighed on sales and dampened the housing recovery. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2 percent from September to October, down from a 0.7 percent increase from August to September.
  • U.S. consumer confidence rose this month on a better outlook for hiring and growth. The Conference Board says its index of consumer confidence rose to 78.1 in December, up from 72 in the previous month. Consumer confidence is closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.
  • Netflix is testing new price plans for streaming video as it tries to lure more viewers. Among the plans being tested are a $6.99-a-month plan that allows only one video stream to be watched at once, and a $9.99-a-month plan that allows three streams at one time, whether on a TV, tablet or computer. A Netflix spokesman says not everyone will see the test prices and they may never roll out system wide.
  • Walgreens says it will fill prescriptions at no upfront cost to some patients who don't have all the information they need for coverage received through the health care overhaul. Walgreens says it'll provide up to a 30-day supply of some branded and generic medicines. The offer does not include complex and expensive medications like cancer drugs or treatments for rare diseases.

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