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Business news briefs — April 10

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WALL STREET

Dow Jones drops 267 points

After a two-day respite, Wall Street investors again started dumping shares of cutting-edge drug companies and other industries that have soared over the past year. Biotechnology stocks have turned volatile in recent weeks as regulators scrutinize the cost of their drugs and investors worry their earnings won’t justify lofty stock prices. Investors are also worried that high-growth companies like Twitter and Facebook have become too expensive.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq composite had its worst day since November 2011. Few companies escaped the sell-off. Of the Nasdaq’s 100 largest stocks, only one, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a freight company, ended higher. The Nasdaq ended the day down 129.79 points, or 3.1 percent, to 4,054.11. It is now down 7 percent from its recent high reached March 5.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 39.10 points, or 2.1 percent, to close at 1,838.08. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 266.96 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,170.22.

OHIO BUSINESS

GE to expand in Cincinnati

General Electric Co. plans to build a new U.S. global operations center in the Cincinnati area, bringing an expected 1,400 jobs to Southwest Ohio.

The announcement was made by JobsOhio, the state’s private job-creation agency.

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE describes the center as a “shared services” site that’s part of the sprawling company’s efforts to streamline operations. The Cincinnati area center will be one of five such centers around the world that will combine functions such as finance and information technology in the same place, GE said.

EARNINGS

Rite Aid exceeds expectations

Rite Aid said it earned $56.7 million, or 6 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 1. That beat average analyst projections by 2 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue of $6.6 billion in the quarter that ended last month also edged out expectations.

REAL ESTATE

U.S. mortgage rates fall

Average interest rates on fixed mortgages declined this week, edging closer to historically low levels as the spring home-buying season begins. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.34 percent from 4.41 percent last week.

The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.38 percent from 3.47 percent.

TRADE

Enforcement of laws urged

A group of U.S. senators including Ohio’s Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman is seeking to protect jobs by calling on President Barack Obama’s administration to fully enforce trade laws. The issue concerns whether imported steel reinforcing bar products from Turkey and Mexico unfairly undercuts U.S. prices.

In a letter sent Wednesday, the senators urged the Department of Commerce to consider the impact of cheaper imports on U.S. steel companies when it issues preliminary rulings later this month.

Companies in Mexico and Turkey could be subject to duties on the steel reinforcing bar, which is known as steel rebar and is used to reinforce concrete, if found in violation.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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