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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

April 24, 2012, 1:48 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

News on corporate earnings and a boost in spirits in Europe have helped the stock market to rally today. AT&T and 3M have led the Dow higher after posting better-than-expected profits before the market opened. Hershey also beat expectations.

  • A new report shows Americans' consumer confidence held mostly steady this month, despite high gasoline prices. The Conference Board says its index stands at 69.2, compared to a revised reading of 69.5 in March. A spokeswoman with the business research group says consumers are "more upbeat" about the economy.
  • The government says March new home sales posted their biggest decline in more than a year. The decline of 7.1 percent virtually reverses a revised increase in February.
  • IBM Corp. is raising its quarterly dividend and repurchasing $7 billion more of its stock under a new buyback program. The news has given IBM shares a lift, having risen about 10 percent year-to-date.
  • Best Buy isn't the only electronics retailer that's facing challenges. RadioShack Corp. reports a first quarter loss amid falling sales. That news has sent Radio Shack stock to a new all-time low.

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