Roundup: Stocks end mostly up as gains extend into 4th week
Stocks end mostly up as gains extend into 4th week
Stocks ended mostly higher on Friday as major indexes extended gains for a fourth week in a row, a rare stretch for this year. After flitting between tiny gains and losses for most of the day, the Standard and Poor’s 500 index rose just two-hundredths of one percent to close at a record high. The Dow Jones industrial average ended slightly lower, but the losses were limited by a gain in energy shares, which have been falling sharply in recent months as oil prices drop. Stocks have been mostly rising since Oct. 15, when the S&P 500 nearly fell into a “correction,” a trading term for a drop of 10 percent or more from a recent peak. Generally strong corporate earnings results and solid economic data have lifted shares sharply since then.
Center heads to sheriff’s sale
Elteq Partners Ltd., owner of One Chatham Center, in the city’s Lower Hill area, faces loss of the nine-story building at a Allegheny County sheriff’s sale Jan. 5. HSBC Bank is foreclosing on the building at 112 Washington Place, claiming the owner has defaulted on a $15,978,860.14 mortgage. Attempts to reach Elteq were unsuccessful. The attorney for the owner Douglas Campbell declined to comment. The building has experienced major tenant loses as UPMC this year relocated about 550 employees out of the building to Heinz57 Center and previously moved about 1,850 workers from One and Two Chatham Center to US Steel Tower. One Chatham is part of a complex in the city’s Lower Hill area, near the Consol Energy Center. Besides the 17-story Two Chatham Center, a 20-story condominium building, a Marriott Hotel and a 2,100 space parking garage are included.
Trump Taj Mahal’s closure looms
The owner of the struggling Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City has filed court papers to close it by next month, making it the fifth of the city’s 12 casinos to shut down this year. Trump Entertainment Resorts said in a Delaware bankruptcy court filing that its board has approved a shutdown of the casino by Dec. 12. It had threatened to close by then if its main union didn’t drop its appeal of a court-ordered cost-savings package. The filing said Trump Entertainment has notified state casino regulators of its intention to close and is preparing to cease operations. Company officials said in court papers the closing will happen because they haven’t received the state and local tax breaks they sought.
Yellen meets with activists
A coalition of community groups and labor unions are “fed up” with the Federal Reserve. More than two dozen activists demonstrated outside the Fed and then met with Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Friday as part of a campaign seeking policy reforms and a commitment to keep interest rates low until good jobs are plentiful for all workers. Although the labor market has steadily strengthened this year, wages have remained stagnant. During the hourlong discussion with Yellen and three other Fed board members, coalition representatives discussed problems their communities are facing with high unemployment and weak wage growth. Ady Barkan, one of the organizers of “Fed Up: The National Campaign for a Strong Economy,” said Yellen and the other Fed officials listened but made no commitments.
Virgin America shares jump
Virgin America made a successful takeoff in its public trading debut Friday. The shares opened at $27, $4 higher than the price that the airline set, and ended up 30 percent at $30. The timing of the IPO by the Richard Branson-backed airline could hardly be better. Airlines stocks have soared as the carriers reap huge profits thanks to full planes, rising revenue and falling fuel prices. After years of losing money, Virgin America is now profitable. The airline priced the shares at $23, near the middle of its announced range of $21 to $24 each, and raised more than $300 million before expenses. The ticker symbol is VA.
Business inventories up 0.3%
U.S. businesses added to their stockpiles at a faster rate in September, but sales remained weak. The Commerce Department says business inventories increased 0.3 percent in September following a 0.1 percent rise in August, which was the weakest showing in more than a year. Sales were flat after having fallen 0.5 percent in August. The weakness in sales may have made businesses more cautious about restocking their shelves until they see more evidence of rising demand. When companies add goods to their stockpiles, it typically reflects optimism about future demand. Reductions in inventory restocking can be a sign of uneasiness about future sales. A rise in inventories at a time of falling sales can be a sign of involuntary inventory building.
Other business news
• Howard Hanna Real Estate Services has acquired Denver-based One Cavo, a company it has worked with for the past four years. No price was disclosed. One Cavo provides customer service to online consumers, helping real estate companies increase their company lead conversion rate, build their online brand and increase their core services revenues. Hanna plans to offer the One Cavo system to other brokerages across the country.
— Staff and wire reports