Manufacturing index increase boosts stocks

NEW YORK - Encouraging signs of a pickup in manufacturing helped send the stock market higher.

It was the third straight gain for the market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index beat its latest record high close set March 7.

The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday its manufacturing index increased to 53.7 from 53.2 in February. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 74.95 to close at 16,532.61. The S&P 500 gained 13.18 to 1,885.52. The Nasdaq rose 69.05 to 4,268.04.

High-speed traders are attracting new scrutiny

NEW YORK - The FBI is looking into the practices of high-frequency stock trading firms, adding to the scrutiny of the practice.

Brokerage firms use high-frequency trading to get a jump on their competitors. Powerful computers analyze market information and then execute buy and sell orders for stocks within a fraction of a second.

One way that high-frequency traders have gained an edge is by receiving market-moving information, such as corporate earnings reports, before other traders and investors. They then exploit that advantage by placing buy or sell orders before other investors. That practice has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months.

Microsoft likely to issue its Windows 8 updates

NEW YORK - Microsoft is following through on a promise to update its Windows 8 operating system on a regular basis to respond to consumers' complaints and other feedback.

Just months after the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft is preparing changes to make it easier for people to use Windows with traditional keyboard and mouse controls.

Microsoft outlined some new features in February and will likely provide more details Wednesday at a conference.

Facebook's CEO reaps $3.3B gain from stock

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a $3.3 billion gain last year by exercising stock options in the social networking company that he founded in a Harvard University dorm room.

The windfall saddled Zuckerberg with a huge tax bill, even though he limited his Facebook salary to just $1, according to documents filed Monday.

Chick-fil-A tops KFC as top U.S. chicken chain

NEW YORK - Chick-fil-A widened its lead over rival KFC as the No. 1 chicken chain in the U.S. last year.

Preliminary data from food industry researcher Technomic shows that Chick-Fil-A held the lead because its locations are much busier, even though there are far fewer of them. Chick-fil-A first surpassed KFC as the top chicken chain in 2012. KFC is still much bigger globally.

Last year, Chick-fil-A had 1,775 locations and pulled in $5.05 billion in sales, says Technomic. KFC had 4,438 stores that brought in $4.22 billion in U.S. sales.

Starbucks is bringing back sliced cake loaves

NEW YORK - Starbucks is learning that people really like their sliced cake loaves.

The coffee company says it will start bringing back its cake slices in response to customer feedback. It had been getting rid of the slices as part of a staggered rollout of its pricier new baked goods.

Wire reports