Finance firms spur late slide in stocks
WASHINGTON -- Financial companies dragged stocks lower Monday on uncertainty about the U.S. government's financial overhaul plan and debt problems in Europe. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 80 points in the last 15 minutes of trading to end with a loss and its lowest close since February.
Investors are worried about limits that could be placed on U.S. banks in a final version of the financial overhaul bill. A bill that passed the Senate last week is now being reconciled with the House version.
The rescue of a Spanish bank raised investors' anxiety about Europe's economy. The Bank of Spain stepped in to rescue Cajasur after it failed to complete a merger. It was only the second time Spain's central bank saved a regional lender.
"People are afraid to go home and say, 'All of the sudden what's going to happen overnight in Europe? Is something new going to pop up?' " said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC.
U.S. thrift industry is profitable again
WASHINGTON -- U.S. thrifts posted a first-quarter profit in the latest sign the industry is stabilizing as the economy recovers, the government reported Monday.
The federal Office of Thrift Supervision said savings and loans had net income of $1.82 billion in the January-March period. That compared with a loss of $1.62 billion a year earlier. It was the industry's third profitable quarter in a row.
Thrifts are required by law to have at least 65 percent of their lending in mortgages and other consumer loans.
Yahoo, Nokia form a new partnership
NEW YORK -- Nokia will run maps and navigation services for Yahoo on phones and computers, the two companies announced Monday. Yahoo will provide e-mail and chat services on Nokia phones. The services will be co-branded.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said location is becoming increasingly important and serves as "an anchor for all services." Bartz said that by tapping into Nokia's strength in maps and navigation, Yahoo can focus on other areas it considers core to its business.
Lexus LS sales are halted for 3 weeks
NEW YORK -- Toyota Motor Corp. has stopped sales of the Lexus LS sedan for about three weeks while it works to get parts to dealers to fix a problem with the vehicle's steering system, a spokesman said Monday.
Toyota on Friday recalled about 3,800 2009 and 2010 LS 460 and LS 600h sedans in the United States. It said Lexus dealers will stop selling the LS until they receive new computer chips for installation.
Traders probed for role in big sell-off
WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators said Mondaythat they are looking at whether big trading firms abandoned the market during the massive sell-off May 6 rather than providing cash support required under law. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the possible retreat of big "liquidity providers" during the market plunge is an area of focus in the investigation. Major securities firms are required by law to remain in the market by buying and selling stocks; high-speed electronic trading firms are not.
Some firms that act as liquidity providers stopped doing so during the free fall, the SEC officials found.