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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

October 17, 2012, 1:18 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief
  • They're off their best levels of the day, but stocks have been mostly higher today, helped by a better-than-expected report on new housing construction. Weakness in IBM shares has weighed on the Dow industrials average.
  • The nation's builders began new home construction in September at the fastest rate since July 2008. And in a positive indication for the future, applications for new building permits were up nearly 12 percent.
  • To replace some of its departing staff, American Airlines will hire 1,500 flight attendants starting next month, with training beginning in January. The carrier, operating under bankruptcy protection, says more than 2,200 of its flight attendants have taken $40,000 buyout offers to leave the company.
  • You've probably seen, or maybe even own, one of the organization's popular yellow bracelets. Lance Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity. And, Nike has severed ties with the famed cyclist amid growing fallout from a doping scandal.
  • Federal regulators are proposing setting minimum capital levels that banks and other firms that trade derivatives must hold as a cushion against risk. The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted to seek public comment on the proposed rules, which also would set collateral requirements and keep customer funds separate from a firm's.

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