Small-firm stocks boost markets for third week

NEW YORK — The stock market is closing out its third straight week of gains, led by small-company stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial rose 35.87 Friday to close at 15,118.49. The S&P 500 closed up 7.03 at 1,633.70; the Nasdaq was up 27.41 to close at 3,436.58.

The Russell 2000 rose about 9 to 975. Its weekly gain of 2.2 percent is twice as much as the Dow and S&P 500.

Air India to resume 787 passenger flights soon

NEW DELHI — State-run Air India has started test flights of its Dreamliner fleet with new battery packs and is likely to put them back into service by the end of this month.

The airline stopped flying its six Boeing 787 aircraft in January after Dreamliners were grounded worldwide due to battery fire risk. Air India said in a statement that the pilots on the first test flight Thursday were satisfied with the plane’s performance.

Air India has ordered 27 Dreamliners. Several of the previously delivered jets were assembled at the Boeing plant in North Charleston.

Icahn, big Dell investor challenge buyout plan

DALLAS — One of the biggest critics of Michael Dell’s plan to take the company he founded private has launched a fresh challenge to that $24.4 billion bid, and said the slumping PC maker needs new leadership.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has teamed with Dell’s largest independent shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, to pitch a deal that would let Dell shareholders keep their stake in the company and give them either $12 per share in cash or additional shares.

Icahn and Southeastern said this alternative, which would keep the company publicly traded, gives shareholders a stake in future company gains, according to a May 9 letter sent to Dell’s board.

Regulators shut down bank in Asheville, N.C.

WASHINGTON — Regulators closed a bank in Asheville, N. C., Friday, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures to 11 this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Friday seized Pisgah Community Bank.

The lender, which had a single branch, had roughly $21.9 million in assets and $21.2 million in deposits as of March 31. Capital Bank NA agreed to assume the deposits and $19.8 million of the failed lender’s assets.

Dollar cracks 100 yen mark, 1st time since ‘09

TOKYO — The dollar continued to soar above 100 yen Friday, driven by aggressive credit-easing aimed at reviving Japan’s economy and improved U.S. economic figures.

The dollar broke through the barrier Thursday for the first time since April 2009. The move lifted Japanese stocks to their highest level in more than five years. By late Friday the dollar was at 101.61 yen.

Strawberry Pepsi? New soda fountain is tested

NEW YORK — PepsiCo plans to start testing a new fountain machine at restaurants to let people create a variety of flavor combinations, such as strawberry Mountain Dew.

The test follows Coca-Cola’s introduction in 2009 of its Freestyle machine, which also lets customers touch a screen to pick from a wide array of flavor combinations. PepsiCo’s test is set to begin at five restaurants in Denver next week.

The “Touch Tower” lets people add up to four flavor shots — lemon, cherry, strawberry or vanilla — to eight varieties of drinks.

Wire reports