Financial
Stock investors hit from all sides in January PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KEN SWEET, AP Markets Writer   
Saturday, 01 February 2014 06:03

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock investors were hit from all sides in January.

Concerns about the global economy and U.S. company earnings, as well as turmoil in emerging markets, led the Dow Jones industrial average to its worst start since 2009. However, many investors remain hopeful that the problems will not spill over into the rest of 2014.

They even see the downturn as healthy, given the U.S. market's rapid rise last year.

The Dow slid 5.3 percent in January while the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.6 percent and the Nasdaq composite declined 1.7 percent.

Investors entered the year with some degree of skepticism and nervousness. The stock market went basically straight up in 2013. The S&P 500 index ended 2013 with a gain of nearly 30 percent, its best year since 1997.

"No amount of negative news could derail the market last year," said Jonathan Corpina, a floor trader at the New York Stock Exchange with Meridian Equity Partners.

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Catholic diocese in Montana files for bankruptcy protection PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MATT VOLZ, Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 11:27

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, Mont., is filing for bankruptcy protection amid lawsuits that claim clergy members abused 362 children over decades.

Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said in a statement Friday the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case will help resolve the abuse claims.

The diocese covers western Montana and employs about 200 people.

The two lawsuits filed in 2011 claim clergy members abused the children from the 1930s to the 1970s. They claim the diocese shielded the offenders and knew or should have known the threat they posed.

The plaintiffs, the diocese and the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province held three mediation sessions, but the talks faltered with challenges by the church's insurers over the claims they must cover.


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Wal-Mart lowers 4Q, full-year profit expectations PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 15:31

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart said Friday that key earnings figures may come in at the low end or below its prior forecasts for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year. It also said a widely-watched sales metric for the fourth quarter which includes the holiday season will be lower than its previous forecast.

The news initially sent Wal-Mart shares lower but they were up by early afternoon.

The world's biggest retailer said the lower earnings outlook reflect accounting for some Brazil-related charges and other items. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said in a statement that these items were not anticipated when Wal-Mart previously provided its forecasts.

The lowered outlook for sales at stores open at least a year was due in part to eight winter storms that resulted in some store closings, Holley said. He added that its Sam's Club locations were hurt by weather throughout the quarter.

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U.S. consumer spending up 0.4 percent in December PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer   
Friday, 31 January 2014 10:49

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their spending at a solid pace for the second straight month in December even though their income was flat.

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, compared with November when spending had increased an even stronger 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That was the best gain in five months.

Income, however, showed no gain at all in December after a 0.2 percent rise in November. Wages and salaries were basically flat last month, reflecting a sharp slowing in employment growth.

For all of 2013, income growth was 2.8 percent, the weakest performance since 2009 when income fell 2.8 percent as the country struggled with a deep recession.

Economists are hoping that stronger economic growth will promote stronger employment and income gains this year.

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