February 14, 2013

Briefcase

Fast-food restaurant stocks fall, taking a bite out of Dow

The Dow was held back by a slump in McDonald's stock Wednesday, leaving it short of a record.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 35.79 points to close at 13,982.91. The Dow has gained 6.7 percent this year and is just 182 points below the record close of 14,164 it set in October 2007.

McDonald's was the biggest decliner in the Dow, losing $1.10 to $94, as investors worried that Americans will spend less on eating out following a rise in Social Security taxes at the beginning of the year. The government reported early Wednesday that spending by Americans barely grew last month.

Other fast-food companies also fell. Buffalo Wild Wings stock plunged $4.52 to $76.55 after its earnings fell short of analysts' expectations. Burger King and Wendy's also fell.

"Consumer spending is coming under pressure," said Bryan Elliott, an analyst at Raymond James. "It's the easiest way to save money, stay at home and cook."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 0.90 point to 1,520.33. The index climbed as high as 1,524 during the day, the highest since November 2007. It is up 6.6 percent so far this year. The Nasdaq composite rose 10.38 points to 3,196.88.

Time Warner in early talks with a buyer for magazines

A "serious buyer" is talking with Time Warner to buy several magazines from it, including People, InStyle and Real Simple, according to a Fortune magazine report.

Wednesday's report cited unnamed people familiar with the matter and comes two weeks after the magazine unit, Time Inc., said it's cutting 6 percent of its global staff of 8,000, or about 500 people.

Companies sometimes lay off workers before selling assets to make them more profitable and attractive to buyers.

Fortune is also owned by Time Inc. and says it might not be part of a sale.

The magazine said the talks are early and may fall apart. It said one of the advisers involved was Chicago merchant bank BDT Capital Partners, which is run by former Goldman Sachs executive Byron Trott.

Exxon gets access to explore more of Russian Arctic's seas

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Russian partner Rosneft have signed an agreement that will give the U.S. company exploration access to an additional 234,000 square miles in the Russian Arctic.

A separate agreement will give Rosneft the opportunity to acquire a 25 percent interest in the Point Thompson unit on Alaska's North Slope.

The companies also said Wednesday they will study a potential liquid natural gas project in the Russian Far East.

The agreements were announced Wednesday on the website of Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil. Rosneft President Igor Sechin and Exxon Mobil Exploration Co. President Stephen Greenlee signed the agreements in Moscow in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The agreements will give Exxon exploration access to seven new blocks in the Chukchi, Laptev and Kara seas.

-- From news service reports

 

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