Dow, S&P 500 slide for fourth consecutive day

NEW YORK — Stocks fell Monday, when the Dow Jones industrial average retreated for a fourth day in a row as it was dragged lower by bank stocks.

Investors continued to sell bonds, pushing yields to multi-year highs. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.88 percent, the highest since July 2011.

The Federal Reserve will be in focus most of the week. On Wednesday, investors will get the minutes from the central bank’s July meeting. The bank’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., starts Thursday. The big question: Will the Fed cut back its bond-buying program in September?

The Dow dropped 70.73 to close at 15,010.74. The S&P 500 index lost 9.77 to 1,646.06, its fourth loss in a row. The Nasdaq index fell 13.69 to 3,589.09.

Fed: Big banks have to pad financial cushions

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve said the nation’s largest banks need to do a better job of determining how much capital they need to cushion against a future crisis.

The Fed said a study shows that banks have made progress in preparing for stresses like those brought by the 2008 financial crisis. But it said banks must go further by accounting for specific risks that relate to their business activities.

The Fed has been conducting annual stress tests on the biggest banks since 2009. The next round will include the 18 largest banks and an additional 12 firms that will participate for the first time next year.

The report comes as President Barack Obama is meeting with regulators for a status report as the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis approaches.

Hedge fund investor to settle charges from SEC

NEW YORK — Hedge fund titan Phil Falcone and his firm, Harbinger Capital Partners, will pay $18 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges over his use of firm money and other accusations, regulators said Monday.

Falcone and his firm must also admit wrongdoing, a departure from many recent SEC settlements that have allowed firms and employees to neither admit nor deny guilt. Falcone is also barred from the securities industry for five years.

As car loans grow, most borrowers are repaying

LOS ANGELES — Many Americans are carrying higher auto loan balances, but the increased financial strain isn’t resulting in more missed payments, new data shows.

Average auto loan balances have increased amid a strong market for cars and trucks this year, rising to $13,435 in the second quarter. That’s up 4.5 percent year-over-year and a 1.3 percent increase from the first quarter.

But Americans are keeping up with the payments. The rate of U.S. auto-loan payments late by 60 days or more was essentially flat in the April-June quarter, inching to 0.80 percent from 0.79 percent in the second quarter of last year, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday. The delinquency rate dropped from in the first three months of the year.

Saks’ 2Q suggests that affluent spending less

NEW YORK — Saks Inc.’s weak second-quarter earnings are raising concerns that a slowdown in spending is reaching into affluent circles.

Saks reported Monday that its second-quarter loss widened, burdened by some higher expenses and charges. The luxury retailer also faced higher markdowns of some goods and misjudged the timing of a key seasonal clearance sale.

It joins other luxury retailers, including Ralph Lauren and Coach in reporting weak sales during the spring and early summer.

Wire reports