Dow index rises, closes at new all-time record

NEW YORK — There wasn’t any major economic news or blockbuster earnings. But that didn’t stop investors from pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to another record Wednesday.

Instead, investors focused on the economic news that has yet to come, U.S. third-quarter economic growth Thursday and the October jobs report Friday. Both could signal how much longer the Federal Reserve will keep up its bond purchases that haveheld down interest rates, kept bond yields low and made stocks more attractive.

The Dow rose 128.66 to its latest high of 15,746.88. The S&P 500 climbed 7.52 to 1,770.49, just short of its high set Oct. 29. The Nasdaq fell 7.92 to 3,931.95.

Post office sees uptick in package deliveries

WASHINGTON — The post office says it’ll deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 420 million packages during the holiday season.

The U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday that it expects letters to decline slightly while package deliveries between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31 will rise 12 percent over last year.

The post office expects the busiest mailing day to be Monday, Dec. 16, and the busiest day for packages to be Dec. 19.

Wells Fargo is settling fed mortgage claims

SAN FRANCISCO — Wells Fargo will pay $335 million to resolve claims that it misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about risky mortgage securities that it sold them prior to the housing collapse.

The bank said in a filing Wednesday that it settled the claims with Fannie Mae in its first quarter and Freddie Mac in its third quarter. Wells Fargo declined to comment further.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency sued 18 financial institutions in 2011 over their sales of mortgage securities to Fannie and Freddie. These types of securities soured after the housing bubble burst in 2007.

Wal-Mart glitch takes low prices to extreme

NEW YORK — Treadmills for $33? Computer monitors for $9? The deals are too good to be true — even at Wal-Mart. It turns out they’re not.

Wal-Mart says a “technical error” caused certain products to be priced low or high on its website Wednesday, The company said it was working to resolve the issue and that the site may have intermittent problems until then.It declined to comment on whether it would honor the bargains.

Google explaining why it’s building on barges

SAN FRANCISCO — Internet giant Google says it is exploring using two large barges on the East and West coasts as interactive learning centers. A statement released Wednesday helped end speculation about the purpose of structures on two barges in San Francisco Bay and off Maine.

Amazon looking to sell bookstores on Kindles

SEATTLE — Amazon is offering an enticement to independent bookstores: sell the Kindle and get a 10 percent cut of the price of the digital books that people buy for it, for two years. It said Wednesday the program will also give booksellers a discount when they purchase Kindles for resale.

Starbucks to hire 10k vets, military spouses

NEW YORK — Starbucks says it plans to hire at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. The company says it will develop a system dedicated to matching the skills of veterans and military spouses with jobs in its organization. Starbucks says it has nearly 200,000 employees worldwide.

Staff and wire reports