Stocks end day slightly higher after rally fades

NEW YORK — The stock market rose modestly Tuesday as renewed worries about a U.S.-led attack on Syria dampened an early rally.

Stocks surged in the opening minutes of trading as traders felt that a U.S. attack on Syria wasn’t imminent after President Barack Obama announced over the weekend he would seek congressional approval first.

The stock market also got an early boost from a report showing that U.S. manufacturing expanded last month at the fastest pace since June 2011. But the rally faded after the top Republican in Congress said he would support Obama’s call for the U.S. to take action.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 23.65 to 14,833.96. The Dow was also held back by Microsoft and Verizon, which both slumped after announcing deals.

The S&P 500 index gained 6.80 to 1,639.77. The Nasdaq climbed 22.74 to 3,612.

S&P says U.S. gov’t suit is all about ‘retaliation’

Standard & Poor’s says the U.S. government sued the ratings agency as “retaliation” for its downgrade of the country’s credit rating. The Department of Justice filed civil charges against the rating agency in February and is seeking $5 billion in penalties.

The government claims S&P refused to warn investors the housing market was collapsing because it would be bad for business. It also says S&P knowingly inflated ratings of risky investments that helped trigger an economic crisis.

S&P denies the claims and said in a court filing that it is being sued in retaliation for a downgrade of the country’s top-tier credit rating in 2011.

Investor plans to vote against Smithfield sale

One of Smithfield Foods’ largest shareholders says it plans to vote against the pork producer’s proposed takeover by a Chinese company.

Starboard Value sent a letter to shareholders on Tuesday saying it intends to vote against the deal struck with Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.

Smithfield Foods has scheduled a Sept. 24 shareholders meeting to vote on the takeover.It would be the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion including debt.

Starboard, which owns about 5.7 percent of Smithfield’s common stock, says it wants more time to seek other proposals that would offer greater shareholder value.

Gimme a break: New Android named KitKat

Gimme a break, Google.

The tech giant, which is known for nick-naming its Android mobile operating systems for smartphones and tablets after desserts, has for the first time chosen a brand-name candy for version 4.4 that’s expected to launch this fall: Kit Kat, the chocolate bar with the well-known “Gimme a Break” jingle. Kit Kat packaging will show Android’s green robot mascot breaking a Kit Kat bar.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed for the sweet deal between Google and Hershey Co., which makes Kit Kat.

Jarden buying Yankee Candle in $1.75B deal

Consumer products company Jarden is buying Yankee Candle for about $1.75 billion, helping to expand its product offerings.

Jarden is known for brands such as Crock-Pot, Mr. Coffee and Coleman camping gear. Yankee Candle is best known for its various scented and seasonal candles and accessories.

Jarden CEO Martin Franklin said in Tuesday that this is the company’s first significant acquisition since April 2010.

Yankee Candle CEO Harlan Kent said the buyout gives the chain the resources and scale to strengthen its existing product development and distribution capabilities.

Wire reports