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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

September 3, 2014, 1:52 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Cease-fire talk in Ukraine has provided a boost, but technology stocks are tugging the main indexes down this afternoon. The Dow is still modestly higher, but the S&P 500 is wavering and the Nasdaq composite, which is dominated by large technology companies, has sunk into negative territory. Of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500, technology companies are down the most.

  • Apple shares are getting bit by a rival. Samsung unveiled two new smartphones at a trade show in Berlin today, and that's sent the iPhone maker's stock down more than 3 percent, trading below $100 a share this afternoon. Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge phone features has a side display for quicker access to Twitter, the flashlight, news and other frequently used apps. Apple is expected to unveil new products next Tuesday.
  • The Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book survey shows the U.S. economy strengthening in all regions in July and August. Six of the Fed's regions report "moderate" growth, while the others report slower expansion. The six with moderate growth are New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco. The survey found no clear evidence that the economy is expanding so fast that the Fed might soon need to begin raising interest rates to prevent inflation.
  • The Food and Drug Administration says there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs taken by millions of American men are beneficial. However, the agency's review also says that studies do not show "convincing evidence" that the hormone carries serious risks. The scrutiny comes amid a marketing blitz for new pills, patches and formulations that have transformed testosterone into a multibillion-dollar market.
  • The Federal Reserve has adopted rules that will subject big U.S. banks to so-called "liquidity" requirements for the first time. Banks with more than $250 billion in assets will have to hold enough cash, government bonds and other high-quality assets to fund operations for 30 days during a time of market stress. Banks with between $50 billion and $250 billion in assets will have to keep enough to cover 21 days. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also are expected to adopt the rules today.

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