Nordstrom will open outlet in South Portland this spring

Nordstrom Rack, the outlet division of Nordstrom Inc., will open its first store in Maine this spring.

Seattle-based Nordstrom said the 30,000-square-foot store will be at the Maine Crossing Shopping Center, joining Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Men’s Wearhouse. The new store will occupy the former Old Navy space.

Nordstrom Rack, which carries merchandise from Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com at 50 to 60 percent off original prices, is the latest retailer to come to South Portland.

Last month, Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which will feature clothing, cosmetics and home goods, said it will open at the Maine Mall by mid-September.

C.N. Brown to start selling power to Maine consumers

A heating oil company that operates gas stations and convenience stores is the latest to enter the state’s electricity market.

Paris-based C.N. Brown said it will offer competitive electricity rates across much of Maine.

Jeff Brown, president of the electricity division, told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network that the company has been buying electricity competitively for its offices and stores for a number of years. It began offering electricity to its 900 employees last fall, and now hopes to sell power to its 30,000 home heating oil customers and other interested consumers.

Maine has allowed competitive electricity providers for more than a decade, but only recently have competing companies begun selling power.

The largest competitive electricity supplier, Electricity Maine, opened in 2011 and now has nearly 190,000 customers.

Compromise on fiscal cliff sets stock market on fire

The fiscal cliff compromise, even with all its chaos, controversy and unresolved questions, was enough to ignite the stock market on Wednesday, the first trading day of the new year.

The Dow Jones industrial average careened 308 points higher, its biggest gain since December 2011. It’s now just 5 percent below its record high close reached in October 2007. The Russell 2000, an index that tracks smaller companies, shot up to 873.42, the highest close in its history.

The reverie multiplied across the globe, with stock indexes throughout Europe and Asia leaping higher. A leading British index, the FTSE 100, closed above 6,000 for the first time since July 2011, at 6,027.37.

In the U.S., the rally was extraordinarily broad. For every stock that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, roughly 10 rose. All 30 stocks that make up the Dow rose, as did 94 percent of the stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. The Dow enjoyed big gains throughout the day, up by more than 200 points within minutes of the opening bell. It swelled even bigger in the final half hour of trading, and closed up 2.4 percent to 13,412.55.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 jumped 36.23, or 2.5 percent, to 1,462.42. The Nasdaq rose 92.75, or 3.1 percent, to 3,112.26.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose sharply, to 1.84 percent from 1.75 percent.

– Staff and news services