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Tuesday Evening Business Brief

April 3, 2012, 6:41 PM

Tuesday Evening Business Brief

U.S. stocks closed lower, but off their worst levels of the session after minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting indicated that central bankers were unlikely to buy more bonds to boost the economy. The Dow fell 65 points at 13,200. The S&P and the Nasdaq both lost 6 points.

  • Although there is concern about whether the job market will continue to improve, there does not appear to be widespread support among Federal Reserve policymakers for additional bond purchases. The Fed is sticking with its plan to keep interest rates at record lows until at least late 2014.
  • The recovery in the U.S. auto industry has moved into the fast lane. Smaller cars like the Ford Focus, Nissan Versa and Fiat 500 flew off dealer lots in March and gave the U.S. auto industry its best monthly sales in almost four years.
  • There was a modest drop for crude oil prices.  Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.22 to end the day at $104.01 per barrel in New York.
  • Federal prosecutors say a Florida-based health care provider has agreed to pay $137.5 million to settle four lawsuits involving fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims in nine states. The suits claimed WellCare Health Plans falsely inflated the amount it claimed to be spending on medical care to avoid returning the money to Medicaid and other programs. The suits also accused the company of knowingly retaining overpayments received and falsifying data that misrepresented the medical conditions of patients and treatments they received.

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