U.S. ship safe after attack

In 2004 the Liberty Sun was delivering food aid to Eritrea's main Red Sea port of Massawa. It was on a similar mission Tuesday when attacked by Somali pirates, although the ship and its crew are safe.

Rash of good news boosts stocks again

NEW YORK -- Upbeat forecasts from Intel and JPMorgan Chase propelled the stock market higher for a fifth day.

The S&P 500 index topped the 1,200 mark Wednesday for the first time in a year and a half. The Dow Jones industrial average moved above 11,100.

The good news came from all directions: Earnings reports and government figures on retail sales and inflation indicated that the economy is strengthening.

Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a Congressional committee the recovery should hold but that high budget deficits must be addressed to avoid big jumps in interest rates.

Bernanke cautioned that unemployment will remain an obstacle for the economy. He also repeated that interest rates will stay low for an "extended period."

Bank of America hires finance chief

CHARLOTTE -- Bank of America has named former Northrop Grumman executive Charles H. Noski as its chief financial officer. Noski, 57, takes over from Joseph Price, who took on the CFO post when Brian Moynihan became Bank of America's CEO in January.

Noski will join the bank May 11. He had previously been CFO at the defense contractor Northrop Grumman and before that, was vice chairman and CFO for AT&T.

Bank of America is one of the largest banks serving the Charleston area.

Business looking up for big shipper UPS

ATLANTA -- In a good sign for the U.S. economy, shipping giant UPS says it is firing on all cylinders as it posted a 33 percent increase in first-quarter earnings per share. The company also raised its guidance Wednesday, saying it expects full-year 2010 earnings per share to climb 32 percent to 43 percent.

UPS says the results for the January- March quarter were spurred by strong performance in its international package and supply chain businesses. Revenue increased 7 percent.

The results were announced nearly two weeks ahead of the company's scheduled earnings release.

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PC sales rose 20% in 2010's 1st quarter

SEATTLE -- Research firms IDC and Gartner Inc. said Wednesday that worldwide personal computer shipments increased more than 20 percent in the first three months of 2010 from the same period a year ago. That shows the PC business is bouncing back from one of its worst stretches ever.

The firms said many businesses are starting to purchase new computers for the first time since the downturn. In the U.S., consumers widely continued to buy new laptops.

Hewlett-Packard remained the top PC maker in the world, followed by Acer and Dell.

Global iPad launch delayed a 2nd time

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- U.S. buyers have been snapping up the iPad so quickly that Apple is delaying the computer's overseas debut a second time, the company said Wednesday.

Apple said it will now start taking orders from international buyers May 10. In January, it said the iPad would be sold worldwide in late March. After analysts reported production delays would limit the number of units available, Apple postponed the U.S. launch to April 3 and the international launch until late in April.