Stocks lock in 3Q gains despite bumpy closing
NEW YORK — Stocks posted solid gains for the third quarter, although the ride got bumpy at the end. Stocks fell five days of the last six, including on Friday, the last trading day of the quarter. But the big indexes are still up 4 percent or more for the three months, and they are ahead 10 percent or more for the year.
That’s despite all the anxiety about the euro, Iran and U.S. politics. Uri Landesman, of Platinum Partners hedge fund, noted that investors around the world feel that U.S. stocks look pretty good, compared to some of the alternatives.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48.84 to close at 13,437.13. The S&P 500 fell 6.48 to 1,440.67. The Nasdaq composite fell 20.37 to 3,116.23.
Bank of America to pay $2.43B in settlement
WASHINGTON — Bank of America said it has agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit related to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch at the height of the financial crisis.
In the lawsuit, shareholders alleged that Bank of America and some of its officers made false or misleading statements about both companies’ financial health.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of investors who bought or held Bank of America stock when the company announced its plans to buy Merrill Lynch in a $20 billion deal as the banking industry and federal regulators struggled to contain fallout from the financial crisis in the fall of 2008.
Higher fuel costs push consumer spending up
WASHINGTON — Americans boosted their spending in August even though their income barely grew. Much of the spending increase went to pay higher gas prices, which may have forced consumers to cut back elsewhere.
The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in August from July. It was the biggest jump since February.
Gas prices rose nearly 50 cents per gallon in July and August, but have since leveled off. Excluding the impact of higher gas prices and other price gains, spending ticked up only 0.1 percent last month.
Nissan offering Leaf discounts to spur sales
DETROIT — Nissan is offering cheap leases and big discounts on the Leaf because of slow sales of the all-electric car. Nissan sold only 4,228 Leafs this year through August, almost a third fewer than a year ago.
It also has a big inventory of the cars nationwide. Nissan started offering Leafs this month for $219 per month with $2,999 down for 32 months.
That’s down from $249 per month earlier in the year.
Duke Energy to retire 2 coal-fired power plants
RALEIGH — Duke Energy Corp.’s Progress Energy Carolinas subsidiary will retire two coal-fired power plants Monday, including one built in 1923.
The retirements of the Cape Fear plant near Moncure, N.C., and the H.B. Robinson Unit 1 plant near Hartsville, S.C., were announced in July.
Company ranks Charleston 85th best real estate market
Charleston is a top-100 market for investing in real estate, according to the home investment franchise company HomeVestors. The Charleston area was ranked 85th on the company’s list for the third quarter of 2012.
That’s better than cities including Seattle, Nashville and Austin, Texas.
Charleston ranked below Greenville (69th), Columbia (52nd), and some struggling cities including Scranton, Pa. (83rd) and Detroit (4th). Las Vegas topped the list, based on home prices, job growth and unemployment data.
Staff and wire reports