LOCAL BUSINESS

Highland Square Next opens

Regional clothing store chain Next, specializing in hard-to-find brands and locally produced gear, has opened a menswear shop in the city-owned Chipotle building at 837 W. Market St., Akron.

A grand opening is set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the store, although it is store already open. Not Perfect Clothing Brand and Blessed Label are among the local brands available. Not Perfect makes the “Akron Heat” T-shirt featuring the same font used by the NBA’s Miami Heat — the team LeBron James left the Cavaliers for in 2010.

Willie Harper was a senior at the University of Akron when he created the T-shirt with friend Thomas McFarland last year. Harper’s T-shirt got attention when James, using his Twitter feed, posted a photo of himself wearing the T-shirt.

Next is owned by Finch Co. Inc. of Cleveland, which has four Next stores in the Cleveland area.

The city bought the Chipotle building in December as part of its redevelopment plans for the Highland Square area.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Magazine likes Subaru

Subaru, a unit of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., was named the top automaker in Consumer Reports’ annual rankings, as Honda, last year’s leader, fell to fourth. Subaru received 75 of 100 points based on the scores of its seven U.S. models, Consumer Reports said Tuesday. Mazda was second with 74 points, followed by Toyota.

Honda’s ranking fell as redesigned models scored lower than those they replaced. Ford, the most improved automaker last year, slid to 10th place from fifth. General Motors ranked 12th. Chrysler, while finishing last among the 13 companies, scored eight points higher than last year. Toyota has the most models the magazine recommends buying, with 22 out of 26 tested. Nissan was second with 13 of 20 examined.

ECONOMY

Bernanke speeches set

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke plans next month to give students at George Washington University his views of the central bank’s response to the financial crisis and its aftermath. Bernanke will deliver four lectures on the “origins and mission” of the Fed, the central bank’s history since World War II, the Fed’s policies during the financial crisis and its role afterward, according to a course outline. The lectures will be given March 20, 22, 27 and 29, will begin at 12:45 p.m. and will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/federalreserve.

Dow passes 13,000

Stocks rose Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its first close above 13,000 since May 2008. The Dow Jones industrial average added 23.61 points to 13,005.12.

Up for a fourth day, the S&P 500 climbed 4.59 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,372.18. The S&P 500’s recent streak is its longest rise since one that ended Jan. 23.

The Nasdaq composite rose 20.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,986.76, also its fourth straight session of gains and bringing the tech-heavy gauge closer to 3,000 — a level it hasn’t reached since late 2000. Helping propel the Nasdaq higher, Apple Inc. shares notched a record high and ended up 1.8 percent at $535.41.

Priceline.com Inc. jumped 7 percent, leading S&P 500 gains, a day after the online-travel site reported earnings and sales that topped market expectations.

Apollo Group Inc. shares slid 16 percent, leading decliners, after the for-profit educator lowered its estimates for 2012 operating profit.

Office Depot Inc. shares rallied 19 percent after the retailer reported a fourth-quarter profit, reversing course on its year-ago loss.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futures fell for a second session, losing $2.01 to end at $106.55 a barrel.

Confidence index up

Consumer confidence is the highest in a year, with more optimism about jobs, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The research group’s gauge of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 70.8 in February from 61.5 in January. An earlier estimate for January pegged the level at 61.1.

An index of consumers’ views on the present situation rose to 45 in February from 38.8 in January; a gauge of consumers’ expectations rose to 88 in February from 76.7 in January.

Generally when the economy is growing at a good clip, confidence readings are at least 90. But rising gas prices could cut future readings, analysts warned.

TECHNOLOGY

Apple talks March 7

Apple Inc. said Tuesday it will make a product announcement March 7 in San Francisco, where it’s said to be releasing the third generation of its best-selling iPad tablet computer.

Compiled from staff and wire reports