CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Business

November 29, 2012

Stocks rise and fall with twists in budget talks

NEW YORK — Optimism that a budget deal will be reached in Washington sent stocks modestly higher Thursday. A pair of economic reports also brightened the mood.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36.71 points to close at 13,021.82.

The stock market took a brief turn lower when House Speaker John Boehner said little progress was being made in budget talks in Washington. The Dow was up as much as 77 points in morning trading, turned negative as Boehner made his remarks at 11:30 a.m., then slowly recovered in the afternoon.

Investors were encouraged by several positive economic reports, including a higher estimate of third-quarter U.S. economic growth, an increase in home sales and a drop in claims for unemployment benefits.

After a meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Boehner told reporters that Democrats still haven't said which cuts they would accept to government benefit programs, suggesting a final budget deal remains a long way off. Republicans have said that they are open to increasing tax revenues as part of an agreement but only if they're accompanied by significant cuts to spending.

Investors have been closely watching the talks between the White House and Congress over the "fiscal cliff", a reference to sharp government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start Jan. 1 unless a deal is reached to cut the budget deficit. New developments in the talks have whipsawed the market.

"It's a headline-watching market with this fiscal cliff," said David Brown, chief market strategist of the investment research firm Sabrient Systems.

Brown says the ongoing negotiations are likely to cause the stock market to take sudden turns in the weeks ahead. "But things seem to be moving in the right direction," Brown said. "I don't think either party wants to get pinned with hurting the market or the economy."

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 6.02 points to 1,415.95. The Nasdaq composite index gained 20.25 points to 3,012.03.

In the market for government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.62 percent from 1.63 percent late Wednesday.

Stock in Guess gained 55 cents to $25.81 after the clothing maker joined the ranks of companies pledging special dividends to shareholders before favorable tax rates on dividends expire at the end of the year. The clothing company said it will make a one-time payment of $1.20 per share on top of its regular quarterly dividend of 20 cents.

Dividends, now taxed at 15 percent, will be treated like ordinary income next year unless Congress and the White House extend current tax breaks as part of a budget deal.

The Commerce Department raised its estimate for U.S. economic growth to an annual rate of 2.7 percent in the July-through-September period. That's much better than the 2 percent rate estimated a month ago and more than twice the 1.3 percent rate logged in the three previous months.

The Labor Department also reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped to 393,000 last week, in line with what economists had expected. It was the second straight drop after Superstorm Sandy drove applications higher earlier this month.

Target, The Gap, and others retail stores posted poor sales numbers, driving their stocks lower. It's a crucial time for retailers, who log a huge chunk of their yearly profits in the weeks running up to the holidays.

Among other companies making news:

— Kohl's plunged 12 percent, the biggest drop in the S&P 500 index. The company posted a drop in sales and said stores in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, areas hit by Superstorm Sandy, fared the worst. Kohl's stock lost $6.13 to $45.02.

— Kroger Co. rose $1.19 to $26.25 after the supermarket chain reported stronger quarterly profits and raised its earnings outlook for the year. Stronger sales helped the operator of Fred Meyer and Food 4 Less stores post better results than analysts had expected.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 18, 2014

  • WSCC HILL.jpg Hill hits the ground running at Wallace State

    Marcie Hill of Double Springs likes taking on new challenges. As an 18-year veteran of the education system, Hill has taught first grade, sixth grade and served as a reading coach to students and teachers in Kindergarten through sixth grade.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: A boom in firework sales

    This year could be quite the boom for fireworks sales across the U.S. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, or the APA, sales are already off to a good start.

    July 3, 2014

  • Edward Jones Recognized as 2014 Most Valuable Employer for Military by CivilianJobs.com

    Local financial services firm Edward Jones in the Cullman-area was named a 2014 Most Valuable Employer (MVE) for Military by CivilianJobs.com, recognizing the firm's deep committment to recruiting, training and retaining military veterans as financial advisors.
     

    June 23, 2014

  • CRMC welcomes Harrison.jpg CRMC Welcomes Adam Harrison, DO to the Medical Staff

    Cullman Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is pleased to welcome Adam Harrison, DO to the Medical Staff. Dr. Harrison is originally from Cullman and graduated from Cullman High School in 2002. He obtained his bachelor of biomedical science degree from Auburn University in 2006, and attended Wallace State Community College prior to Auburn. He received his degree in osteopathic medicine in 2010 from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus in Suwanee, Ga. He successfully completed an internship through Columbus Regional Medical Center in Columbus, Ga., in 2011. He will complete his residency through UAB Family Medicine in Huntsville, Ala.
     

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deadly guardrails spearing drivers is whistleblower's crusade

    Harman is suing Trinity Highway and its Dallas-based owner, Trinity Industries Inc., alleging that it made quiet design changes that transformed guardrail systems across the U.S. into potentially deadly hazards.

    June 12, 2014

  • google-seo-search-results-screenshot.jpg Your new boss is going to Google you, so make sure she likes what she sees

    This is what a professional online reputation management "campaign" looks like: four people — one patched in via video — around a conference room table, jotting notes on laptops, carefully examining every trace of a client's digital existence and plotting a strategy to improve it.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Merchants Bank promotes 1.jpg Merchants Bank promotes four officers

    The Board of Directors of Merchants Bank of Alabama, a community bank since 1907, recently announced the promotions of four key officers.
    Kerry Hanvey was promoted from vice president of retail banking to senior vice president of operations. Kerry joined the bank in 1992 and has served in various positions over this 22- year period. Kerry is responsible for bank wide operations for the five bank offices.
     

    June 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • Chamber's June Small Biz of Month.jpg Chamber's June Small Business of the Month winner

    The Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce recently awarded their Small Business of the Month award to Quick Tire Sales of Cullman. The award is given monthly to a local small business that meets nomination requirements. Victor Quick of Quick Tires Sales was thrilled for their business to be selected for this honor.
     

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • $15 minimum wage puts Seattle in uncharted waters

    Depending on which pundit is nattering away, this means Seattle is either going to fall off the map and become a "Mad Max"-style economic wasteland or transform into an egalitarian utopia that inspires sweeping pro-labor activism nationwide.

    June 9, 2014