A Smithfield ham.

LM Otero

NEW YORK — Wall Street’s recent passion for high-dividend stocks is fading.

The stock market closed lower Wednesday, led by the same industry groups that had the biggest gains early in the year — rich dividend payers like power utilities and makers of consumer staples. Rising bond yields have been an important factor behind that shift.

That’s giving investors who want steady income an alternative to dividend-rich stocks like power utilities. More broadly, after this year’s powerful bull run, investors may be running out of reasons to keep plowing money into stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 106.59 at 15,302.80. The S&P 500 fell 11.70 to 1,648.36. The Nasdaq lost 21.37 to 3,467.52.

A federal judge in Charleston Wednesday approved the settlement of a lawsuit challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel leading to Georgia’s ports.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also thanked both sides for reaching a settlement in a case he said could have dragged through the courts for years.

Environmental groups sued last year, contending that deepening the 32-mile channel will dredge toxic cadmium from the river. Under the settlement, the Army Corps of Engineers would provide more environmental monitoring and the Georgia Ports Authority will provide millions of dollars for conservation work.

The settlement also will transfer 2,000 acres of marsh to South Carolina.

RICHMOND, . — Chinese meat processor Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. has agreed to buy Smithfield Foods for about $4.72 billion in a deal that will take the world’s biggest pork producer private.

Shuanghui owns a variety of global businesses and is China’s largest meat processing enterprise. Smithfield owns brands such as Armour, Farmland and its namesake. Under the agreement, there will be no closures at Smithfield’s facilities and locations.

Smithfield’s existing management team will remain in place, and Shuanghui also will honor collective-bargaining agreements in place with Smithfield workers.

WASHINGTON — Nasdaq has agreed to pay a $10 million penalty to settle federal civil charges after regulators said its systems and decisions disrupted Facebook’s public stock offering last year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that the penalty is the largest ever imposed against an exchange. Nasdaq also has had to pay $62 million to investment firms that lost money because of the problems.

Facebook had its offering on May 18, 2012, but computer glitches threw the launch into chaos. The problems kept many investors from buying shares, selling them later or knowing whether their orders went through.

NEW YORK — The privately held company that owns the Empire State Building is a step closer to going public. According to a federal filing, enough shareholders approved a plan to turn the company into a publicly traded real estate investment trust.

Under the plan spearheaded by Malkin Holdings, which runs the iconic skyscraper, three companies would be consolidated and up to $1 billion would be raised by selling stock in a new company.

Wire reports