Stocks edge higher as US leaders plan to talk

Signs that lawmakers are making moves to end a stalemate in Washington and avert a U.S. government debt default halted a slump on the stock market Wednesday.

President Barack Obama is making plans to talk with Republican lawmakers in the coming days as pressure builds to resolve their deadlock over the debt limit and the partial government shutdown before the Treasury’s borrowing authority is exhausted next week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.45 to 14,802.98.The S&P 500 gained 0.95 to 1,656.40. The Nasdaq fell 17.06 to 3,677.78.

Men’s Wearhouse says Jos. A Bank bid too low

Men’s Wearhouse said Wednesday its board has rejected an unsolicited $2.3 billion bid by rival Jos. A. Bank to acquire the chain. It said the offer “significantly undervalues Men’s Wearhouse and its strong prospects for continued growth and value creation.” Jos. A. Bank made public earlier Wednesday that it had made the $48-a-share offer last month.

Shipments of PC units fall 6 quarters in a row

Worldwide shipments of personal computers fell in the third quarter of the year, the sixth straight quarter of decline as cheaper tablet computers and smartphones cut into demand.

Market research firm IDC said the market fell nearly 8 percent, to 81.6 million units, while Gartner Inc. put the decline at almost 9 percent, to 80.3 million. IDC expects the market will hit bottom next year, with a recovery starting in 2015.

Twitter, Comcast enter television partnership

NEW YORK — Twitter Inc. and Comcast Corp. said they have signed a TV partnership that will let viewers access television shows and buy movie tickets directly from a tweet.

The companies said a new feature that’s part of the deal will let customers of Comcast’s Xfinify TV service tune in to programs by clicking a “see it” button in a tweet. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts calls it “an instant online remote control.”

The button will allow Twitter users who are also Comcast customers to set DVRs, tune in to shows online, on TV or on mobile devices. They can also buy movie tickets.

Family Dollar 4Q profit up, sales are mostly flat

Family Dollar said Wednesday that its net income rose 26 percent to $102.2 million in the fourth quarter as sales improved despite flat customer traffic.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $2.5 billion from $2.36 billion. Sales of consumables climbed 8.3 percent, helped by higher sales of refrigerated food, health aids and tobacco. Wall Street forecast $2.56 billion.

Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, was flat. The company has more than 7,900 stores in 46 states

BMW sales rise 6.7% on demand from Asia, U.S.

German luxury automaker BMW said Wednesday that sales rose 6.7 percent in September thanks to stronger demand in the U.S. and Asia.

BMW’s sales, including its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, rose 18 percent in Asia, supported by a 20.8 jump in China from the same month a year ago. U.S. sales rose 8.3 percent. Sales in hard-hot Europe barely rose, by 0.7 percent.

The company sold 189,675 vehicles worldwide.

BMW is one of South Carolina’s most important employers. It has a large plant near Spartanburg.

Toyota drops price on slow-selling plug-in car

Toyota is cutting the price of the Prius plug-in hybrid. The 2014 model will start at $30,800, or $2,100 less than the 2013 model. Prices include $810 for shipping.

The new pricing makes the plug-in Prius about $4,000 less than a Chevy Volt.

Plug-in cars can go farther on a charge and get better gas mileage than regular hybrids. But sales have been sluggish because of stable gas prices and the vehicles’ higher costs.

Staff and wire reports