Late-day buying spurt pushes stock prices higher

NEW YORK -- A late afternoon rally pushed the stock market higher for only the second day this month. Major indexes spent most of Monday lower as investors worried that Greece could be edging closer to default.

Traders said a combination of technical factors and reports that China was buying Italian government bonds triggered the late spurt of buying.

All of the Dow Jones industrial average's gains came in the last 10 minutes of trading. The Dow had been down as many as 167 points shortly after 2 p.m.

--The Dow rose 68.99 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 11,061.12.

--The S&P 500 rose 8.04, or 0.7 percent, to 1,162.27.

--The Nasdaq rose 27.10 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,495.09.

Damage to corn crop could increase prices for food

NEW YORK -- Food prices could rise next year because an unseasonably hot summer likely damaged much of this year's corn crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated Monday that a surplus of 672 million bushels of corn will be left over at the end of next summer. The estimated surplus is down from last month's forecast and well below levels that are considered healthy.

This spring, farmers planted the second-largest crop since World War II. But high temperatures stunted the plants. "We just didn't have a good growing year," said analyst Jason Ward of Northstar Commodity. "It was too hot, too warm, too dry at the wrong time."

Ex-Yahoo chief changes mind about retaining board seat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Carol Bartz has resigned from the Yahoo board of directors that she blasted for firing her as the company's CEO last week.

The resignation reversed a defiant stance that Bartz took in a fiery interview published on Fortune magazine's website on Sept. 8. Bartz said, at the time, that she intended to retain her seat on Yahoo's board even though she considered her fellow directors to be "doofuses."

Bartz, 63, resigned from the board Sept. 9, according to board spokesman Charles Sipkins. Yahoo had previously said that Bartz was obligated to resign after her ouster as CEO.

Buffett's Berkshire hires new manager for portfolio

OMAHA, Neb. -- Berkshire Hathaway has hired a second hedge fund manager to help run the company's investment portfolio and prepare for what it described as the eventual retirement of 81-year-old billionaire Warren Buffett.

Berkshire said Monday that Ted Weschler, 50, will join the company early next year.

He has announced to the partners of his hedge fund, Peninsula Capital Advisors, that he will begin winding up the fund.

The announcement helps clarify the investment part of Berkshire's succession plan, but because the company plans to split Buffett's job into separate CEO, chairman and investment manager jobs, it's still not clear who will lead Berkshire after Buffett is gone.