Wal-Mart, D.C. worries whack stock market
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart spooked the stock market on Wednesday, helping push stocks lower for the fifth straight day.
The Dow Jones industrial average was dragged down by Wal-Mart after Bloomberg News reported the retailer is cutting orders with suppliers as unsold merchandise piles up. Wal-Mart said the report was misleading and that in some categories it was ordering more.
Worries about the economy and the growing possibility of a government shutdown also continue to weigh on investors.
The Dow fell 61 to 15,273.26. The S&P 500 index fell 5 to 1,692.77. The Nasdaq composite lost 7 to 3,761.10.
Wall Street also is looking to Oct. 4, when investors get the September jobs report. If hiring is strong enough, the Federal Reserve could decide to start pulling back on its economic stimulus at a two-day policy meeting later in the month.
Plastic recycler to bring jobs to Chester County
RICHBURG — A Chinese company that recycles plastic soda and water bottles into fibers for furniture and upholstery plans to open a new plant in Chester County.
JN Fibers Inc. said Wednesday it will hire more than 300 workers for its new $45 million plant in Richburg. The company is renovating an existing building and hopes to begin hiring next summer with the plant opening in the fall of 2014.
JN Fibers makes fibers used in upholstery for cars, furniture and other home items.
The company was given an infrastructure grant of $800,000 and job development credits to locate in South Carolina.
Post office seeks 3-cent boost for 1st-class mail
WASHINGTON — The financially ailing Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter — and that would raise the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents.
The chairman of the postal Board of Governors, Mickey Barnett, cites the “precarious financial condition” of the agency and the uncertain prospects for postal overhaul legislation in Congress. The agency expects to lose $6 billion this year.
Wednesday’s request for the increase in stamp prices must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. Media and marketing businesses say a big increase in rates could hurt them and lower postal volume.
Study puts iPhone 5S production cost at $191
NEW YORK — While the iPhone 5S includes a handful of new features that set it apart from Apple’s previous model, the actual cost to make the phone hasn’t changed very much, according to a new study.
An IHS Inc. teardown of the new smartphone found that the components that make up a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S cost $190.70. Manufacturing costs add another $8, bringing the total production cost to $198.70.
In comparison, the iPhone 5, which hit the market a year ago, cost $197 to make.
Amazon unveils Kindle Fire HDX with live help
SEATTLE — Amazon is refreshing its line-up of tablet computers with devices called Kindle Fire HDX. The tablets are significantly faster and weigh less than the previous generation.
The 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions use displays that have more pixels per inch than Apple’s latest iPad. They also come with a feature called “Mayday” that calls up a live service representative in a tiny video window to explain new features or troubleshoot problems. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the feature Tuesday.