Stocks slip as Wall St. assesses earnings data
NEW YORK - The stock market fell slightly Friday, pushing the market to a weekly loss, as investors assessed the latest round of company profits. Express Scripts, the big pharmacy benefits manager, and online deals company Groupon were among the stocks that fell after reporting earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 29.93 to close at 16,103.30. The S&P 500 fell 3.53 to 1,836.25. The Nasdaq dropped 4.13 to 4,263.41.
Insurer expands, adds 450 jobs in Greenville
GREENVILLE - Insurance provider Esurance is planning to expand in Greenville County. Officials said Esurance is investing $2.1 million in a new sales and claims office that's expected to create up to 450 jobs.
Esurance was acquired by Allstate in 2011 and sells auto insurance directly to customers online and through call centers.
Officials say the Upstate office is expected to open this summer. Go to www.esurance.com/about/jobs for employment information.
Oriental Trading buys Upstate's SmileMaker
OMAHA, Neb. - Oriental Trading Co. has announced that it's buying South Carolina-based novelties company SmileMaker from office products retailer Staples.
Oriental Trading is a Berkshire Hathaway company and sells party supplies, arts and crafts, novelties and school supplies. SmileMakers, based in Spartanburg, is a direct retailer of patient giveaways and medical practice promotional items.
Verizon finalizes $130B deal for wireless assets
NEW YORK - Verizon on Friday completed its $130 billion deal to take over all of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone Group. Verizon has said that owning all of its wireless unit would give it greater flexibility to invest in new technologies.
Home sales plunged by 5.1 percent in January
WASHINGTON - Sales of existing U.S. homes plummeted in January to the worst pace in 18 months. Cold weather, limited supplies of homes on the market and higher buying costs held back purchases.
The National Association of Realtors said Friday sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million units. That was down 5.1 percent from the December pace.
Fannie earns $6.5B in 4Q; set to repay bailout
WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae posted net income of $6.5 billion from October through December, its eighth straight profitable quarter.
Also, Fannie will pay a dividend of $7.2 billion to the Treasury next month. With previous payments totaling about $114 billion, it will have more than fully repaid the $116 billion it received from taxpayers since the financial crisis.
Weather delays Friday cap lousy travel week
DALLAS - In a fitting end to a miserable week for travelers, airlines have canceled more than 1,200 flights and another 6,000 are running late. They blamed storms along the East Coast and high winds in the country's interior Friday.
This week, 6,000 flights have been canceled and 35,000 delayed. That's a record since the government started keeping track in 1987-1988.