U.S. stocks decline as profits miss their mark

Disappointing company earnings and falling oil prices pulled stocks back from record highs on Tuesday.

NRG Energy slumped after the company lowered its earnings forecast, leading other power companies lower. Energy stocks fell after oil dropped to a five-month low.

Winners included airlines. The gains were led by JetBlue Airways, after the Justice Department said it cleared the way for American Airlines and US Airways to merge.

After closing at an all-time high on three of the previous four trading days, the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 32.43 to close at 15,750.67. The S&P 500 index lost 4.20 to 1,767.69. The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.13 to 3,919.92.

Five ex-Madoff workers on trial in NYC for fraud

In the many years he spent as a trader at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, David Kugel learned that investments that Madoff claimed to be making for clients were fiction.

Kugel knew that because he was instrumental in concocting the phony trades. But he always kept his mouth shut because Madoff was his boss.

Prosecutors are seeking to use Kugel’s testimony — the first by a cooperator in the Madoff investigation — to show how he and other insiders purposely stayed blindly loyal to Madoff while becoming wealthy off his fraud. But the testimony this week also suggested some complexities in the don’t-ask-don’t-tell environment: there was a belief that Madoff was working his investment magic in ways he wasn’t revealing.

Wal-Mart turns up heat for holiday shoppers

NAs more stores push for Thanksgiving shoppers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is stepping up its for the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

Body: The world’s largest retailer said Tuesday that it will start to offer its holiday blockbuster deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores, two hours earlier than last year. It will stagger holiday deals throughout the night and into “Black Friday” the day that’s traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season.

The company will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent and double the number of tablets for sale that weekend, while promising sharper discounts. It’s also bulking up its guaranteed popular items that it will sell in designated store sections to 21, from three last year.

Latest version of iPad Mini is now in stores

The latest version of Apple’s iPad Mini has gone on sale.

It’s the first version of the smaller iPad to feature Retina display. It’s available in silver or space gray. Wi-Fi-only models will start at $399 for a 16GB gigabyte model, while cellular-capable models will start at $529 for the 16GB model.

The minis were available Tuesday through Apple’s online and retail stores, along with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and select retailers.

Apple quietly issued a statement on its availability. Supplies also are limited, suggesting Apple may be having problems producing enough of them.

CFTC nominee praised by commander in chief

President Barack Obama is praising his choice to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as someone who doesn’t seek the spotlight but consistently delivers good results.

Obama announced Tuesday he was nominating Timothy Massad to run the independent agency, which regulates the futures and options markets. Massad is a Treasury Department official who has overseen the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bank rescue plan known as TARP.

Trial to figure damages in Apple-Samsung case

A federal judge and lawyers for the world’s two biggest smartphone makers have begun picking a jury to determine how much Samsung Electronics owes Apple for copying vital iPhone and IPad features. The retrial to determine damages began Tuesday in San Jose.

A jury had awarded Apple $1.05 billion after determining 26 Samsung products had infringed six Apple patents. But a judge found the jury miscalculated $400 million in damages.

Samsung and Apple have been locked in bitter legal struggles around the world as they fight for supremacy of the smartphone market.

Wire reports