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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

May 2, 2012, 1:48 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Is there a slowdown in U.S. hiring? That's the worry of investors, who've taken a cautious approach to stocks today. ADP says that U.S. businesses added 119,000 jobs in April, far fewer than the 201,000 added in March.

  • Volatility in demand for commercial aircraft helps explain a reported drop in March factory orders. The 1.5 percent decline reported by the Commerce Department is the largest in three years.
  • A German court says Microsoft infringed two patents held by Motorola, in a case that could affect sales of its popular Xbox 360 console and the Windows 7 operating system. At issue is technology used for video compression that is owned by Motorola Mobility Holdings, which Google is in the process of buying for $12.5 billion.
  • Sears executives are trying to reassure shareholders about the troubled retailer's ability to survive. Speaking at the Sears Holding Corp. annual meeting, they are highlighting the company's improved cash position and efforts to boost sales and profits. Sears lost $3.1 billion last year.
  • One of the art world's most recognizable images - Edvard Munch's "The Scream" - could sell for $80 million or more when it is auctioned at Sotheby's today. One expert says it is one of the most recognized images in art history, along with the Mona Lisa.

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