Lackluster start to 2014 drags on for U.S. stocks

NEW YORK - The Standard & Poor's 500 index notched its worst start to a year in almost a decade Monday, closing lower for the third straight trading day. Although the declines for stocks in the New Year have been modest, the direction has been consistently down.

"The market is basically looking for additional confirmation of economic strength and maybe marking time as it catches its breath from a pretty strong run at year-end," said Jim Russell of US Bank.

The S&P 500 fell 4.60 to 1,826.77. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 44.89 to 16,425.10. The Nasdaq fell 18.23 to 4,113.68.

Boeing's 787 deliveries beat goal for last year

CHICAGO - Boeing delivered 65 of its 787s last year, even though deliveries were halted for four months because of battery problems.

Boeing was able to step up the pace once deliveries resumed in May, and it handed over 25 of the jets during the final quarter of last year.

Boeing said Monday it delivered a total of 648 planes in 2013, a new record. That appears to put the Chicago company ahead of European competitor Airbus, which has said it expected to deliver about 600 jets for the year.

Boeing's other deliveries included 440 of its 737s and 98 of its long-range 777s.

Boeing and Airbus are both in the midst of a boom in aircraft orders, driven by growing affordability of air travel in Asia and Latin America. Boeing assembles and makes parts for the 787 in North Charleston and Everett, Wash.

Senate confirms Yellen to lead Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Monday confirmed Janet Yellen as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, elevating an advocate of fighting unemployment and a backer of the central bank's efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and massive bond purchases. The 56-26 vote makes her the first woman to lead the central bank in its century-long history

Yellen, 67, will replace Ben Bernanke, who is stepping down after serving as chairman for eight years that included the Great Recession and the Fed's efforts to combat it. She is scheduled to begin her four-year term on Feb. 1.

Men's Wearhouse ups its bid for Jos. A. Bank

FREMONT, Calif. - Despite rebuked overtures on both sides, The Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank could wind up together for better or worse.

The courtship to combine the men's clothing companies has dragged on for months, with each chain having their offer to acquire the other rebuffed. And the saga to combine the two rivals took another turn on Monday when Men's Wearhouse boosted its offer to acquire Jos. A. Bank to $1.61 billion.

While the companies continue to play hard to get, analysts say a combination is inevitable. It would enable both chains to cut costs and boost profits in an increasingly competitive market in which shoppers are scrutinizing their purchases more. But so far executives have been unable to hammer out a deal despite interest on both sides.

Verso Paper is buying NewPage in $1.4B deal

NEW YORK - Coated papers maker Verso Paper is buying NewPage Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at $1.4 billion including debt. Privately held NewPage produces printing and specialty papers.

Verso CEO David Paterson said the buyout will put it in a better position to face increased competition. Paterson will lead the combined company, which will have 11 manufacturing plants in six states and sales of about $4.5 billion. The deal is targeted to close in the second half of the year.

Staff and wire reports