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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

April 9, 2014, 1:42 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are higher for a second day in a row. Technology stocks continue to recover from a drubbing they took over the past week, while better-than-expected quarterly results from Alcoa are helping push other mining and materials stocks higher. The Nasdaq composite is up 1.5 percent, gaining more than 60 points. The Dow is up about 150 points, while the S&P 500 has gained 17.

  • Bank of America Corp. is paying $772 million in fines and refunds to settle regulators' accusations that it misled customers who bought extra credit-card products and illegally charged others for credit monitoring and reporting services they didn't receive. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says about 3.3 million customers were affected. Bank of America has neither admitted nor denied the allegations, but says it already has issued refunds to the majority of affected customers.
  • Hewlett-Packard will pay the U.S. government $108 million to settle charges that former employees paid bribes to officials in Russia, Mexico and Poland. The Securities and Exchange Commission each scheme lasted for years, and that HP's internal controls weren't strong enough to stop the illegal payments. HP says the misconduct was limited to a small number of people who are no longer with the company.
  • The nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager says that patients from the health care overhaul's new insurance exchanges have been more likely to use expensive specialty drugs for chronic conditions. Express Scripts says specialty drugs account for more than a quarter of the country's pharmacy spending but less than 1 percent of all prescriptions.
  • Florida has become the first state to bring criminal money laundering charges in a case involving the virtual currency bitcoin. Police arrested two men in an undercover sting in Miami Beach in February. Police found them by trolling a bitcoin exchange website and posing as credit card thieves looking to launder their illegal proceeds. The case is expected to test whether current law can adapt to new digital forms of payment.

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