Stocks mixed after U.S. jobless rate’s big drop
NEW YORK — A big drop in the unemployment rate wasn’t enough for investors Friday. Stocks posted gains early in the day but faded to a mixed close.
The Labor Department said the unemployment rate had declined to 7.8 percent, its first dip below 8 percent in nearly four years. The decline from 8.1 percent the month before was bigger than economists had expected.
Stocks rose on that news, but the gains didn’t last. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 34.79 to close at 13,610.15, after rising 86 earlier in the day. The S&P 500 index fell 0.47 to 1,460.93, and the Nasdaq dropped 13.27 to 3,136.19.
Despite the mixed day, the Dow managed to reach a milestone — its highest close since December 2007.
U.S. consumer credit up $18.1 billion in August
WASHINGTON — Americans boosted their borrowing in August by the largest amount in three months, with strong gains in the category that covers auto and student loans and in credit card debt.
Total consumer borrowing increased $18.1 billion in August compared to July, the Federal Reserve said Friday. In July borrowing had fallen for the first time in nearly a year. The rebound in August was viewed as an encouraging sign for the economy.
Longtime head of Avon to leave at end of 2012
NEW YORK — Beauty products seller Avon said Friday that its chairwoman and former CEO Andrea Jung will step down at the end of the year, ending her 18-year tenure at the company.
Jung will be replaced as chairman by lead director Fred Hassan. Hassan joined the board in 1999 and has served as lead independent director since 2009.
He is a managing partner at investment firm Warburg Pincus and a former chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough.
Jung will continue to be an adviser to the board. She joined Avon in 1994 and became the first woman CEO for the 126-year-old company in 1999.
She came under fire for failing to stem the company’s declines and wrap up a bribery investigation.
Wet Seal’s chairman, 3 board members depart
FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. — In a win for The Clinton Group, the chairman of Wet Seal and three other directors have stepped down from its board, replaced by four nominees of the activist investor group unhappy with the struggling teen retailer’s performance.
The Clinton Group holds about a 7 percent stake in Wet Seal. As a result of the board changes, it has agreed to terminate its effort to get support from shareholders for its nominees, Wet Seal said Friday.
Feds to study problems with Escape’s throttles
DETROIT — U.S. safety regulators are looking into throttle problems in older Ford Escapes at the request of a consumer group. The nonprofit North Carolina Consumers Council has asked federal regulators to investigate two complaints from drivers who said the small SUV stalled or surged forward.
The government will look at 1.6 million Escapes from the 2005 to 2012 model years.
U.S. probing Hyundai Velosters over sunroofs
DETROIT — Drivers of the Hyundai Veloster could be in for a surprise: The panoramic sunroof on the hatchbacks may shatter without warning, showering the driver with glass.
U.S. safety regulators are investigating the problem, although they have not recalled the cars. The probe affects about 18,000 vehicles from the 2012 model year.