Earnings reports boost stocks
Stocks closed higher Friday thanks to stronger earnings reports from big companies like Hewlett-Packard, but the S&P 500 still posted its first weekly loss of the year. The Dow rose 120 points to close at 14,001. The Standard & Poors 500 index rose 13 points to 1,515, but still had a loss of 0.3 percent for the week. The Nasdaq rose 30 to 3,161. Hewlett-Packard had the biggest gain in the Dow, 12 percent, after posting earnings that beat forecasts, a relief after months of bad news for the computer maker. Cabot Oil & Gas jumped 11 percent on its own strong earnings report.
What sluggish economy? Spending on pets rises
LOS ANGELES The economy may have remained sluggish last year but Americans refused to scrimp on their pets, with animal lovers spending upwards of $53 billion on food, veterinary care, kennels and other services in 2012. Thats up 5 percent from 2011, when spending first broke the $50 billion barrier, says the American Pet Products Association, a trade group based in Greenwich, Conn. And APPA president and CEO Bob Vetere predicts another 4 percent gain this year. At about $34.3 billion, food and vet care represented about two-thirds of total spending, with money spent on supplies and over-the-counter medications rising by more than 7 percent. Spending on the growing market of alternative vet care, such as acupuncture, totaled about $12.5 billion. Vetere says spending on services like grooming, boarding, hotels and pet-sitting grew nearly 10 percent during 2012 to almost $4.4 billion.
The Office costs Dunder Mifflin an ad
SCRANTON, Pa. A northeastern Pennsylvania TV station is refusing to run a commercial for the real-life Dunder Mifflin paper brand. Quill.com produces a line of paper products inspired by the fictional company at the center of The Office, the long-running NBC comedy set in Scranton. Quill had planned to run an ad on WNEP-TV, the ABC affiliate, during this Sundays Oscars telecast. But WNEP declined to air the spot. Paul Bessinger works for Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Quill, a division of Staples. He tells The Times-Tribune of Scranton the spot was apparently declined because The Office airs on a rival network. Michael Last at WNEP declined to comment. The ad will air instead on another ABC affiliate, in Utica, N.Y. Like Scranton, Utica is home to a Dunder Mifflin branch on The Office.
Apple shareholder vote blocked
NEW YORK A federal judge is blocking Apple from conducting a shareholder vote on a package of governance proposals, handing a victory to a rebel investor who is trying to persuade the company to share more of its cash with its investors. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in New York ruled Friday that Apple was wrong to bundle four amendments to its corporate charter into one proposal for a vote at next Wednesdays annual meeting. Shareholders should get to vote on the amendments separately, he said. Although the ruling was preliminary, before both sides had a chance to fully make their case, Sullivan said Apple was likely to lose. He granted dissident investors a preliminary injunction against Apple pending a full trial.
The Associated Press contributed.