Stocks rise day after decline on U.S., European woes
NEW YORK — Investors on Wednesday all but forgot the previous day’s burdens and sent stocks soaring. It was a stark turnaround from the day before, when they’d pushed the market into a free-fall on worries about European debt and corporate earnings in the U.S.
Those fears about problems festering on both sides of the Atlantic were calmed thanks to a surprising profit from Alcoa and news that borrowing costs in Spain had edged down, a potential sign that investors have more faith in that country’s financial health.
The Dow Jones industrial average settled at 12,805.39, up 89.46.
The S&P 500 rose 10.12 to 1,368.71.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 25.24 to 3,016.46.
U.S. accuses Apple, others of e-book conspiracy
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department and 15 states sued Apple Inc. and major book publishers Wednesday, alleging a conspiracy to raise the price of electronic books they said cost consumers more than $100 million in the last two years by adding $2 to $5 to the price of each e-book.
Attorney General Eric Holder said executives at the highest levels of the companies conspired to eliminate competition among e-book sellers. Justice antitrust chief Sharis Pozen said the executives were desperate to get Amazon.com, maker of the Kindle e-book reader, to raise the $9.99 price point it had set for the most popular titles, which was substantially below their hardcover prices.
The government reached a settlement with three of the publishers. But it will proceed with its case against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin Group.
Fed economic survey finds steady growth
WASHINGTON — A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found steady economic growth and hiring throughout the United States in late February and March.
The survey suggests weaker job growth in March might be temporary. The report is based on anecdotal information from the Fed’s 12 regional banks.
The district that includes South Carolina reported business conditions improved since the last survey. Manufacturing activity grew. Retail sales rose sharply. And warm weather bolstered tourism.
Google social network tweaked for ease of use
NEW YORK — Google is tweaking its social network, Google Plus, to make it easier to use and to distinguish itself from rival Facebook.
The most visible change is the addition of a navigation ribbon on the left. That’s where you’ll find the most-used features, such as photos and your personal profile. Hover over an icon to get tasks, such as adding photos from your phone or from an online album. You can reorder the features in the ribbon and hide the ones you don’t use often.
Verizon Wireless’ $30 fee aimed at upgrades
NEW YORK — Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest cellphone company, said it will start charging $30 every time a subscriber wants to upgrade to a new phone. Other phone companies have introduced similar fees. Competitor AT&T raised its fee from $18 to $36 this year.
Verizon said it will start charging the fee April 22, and it will help fund customer support and online tools.
Verizon is introducing the fee as cellphone companies are seeing their profits cut by the cost of subsidizing smartphones, especially iPhones. Smartphones generally cost hundreds of dollars more than they sell for in stores. Wireless carriers count on making the money back through service fees over time, but those fees aren’t growing as fast as smartphone sales.
Staff and wire reports