Export-Import Bank survives challenge from conservatives

The government’s vehicle for promoting U.S. export sales survived a challenge from conservatives Tuesday with a Senate vote to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank for three years. The vote, coming after the Senate rejected amendments to weaken or kill the bank, sends the measure to President Obama for his signature.

The bill, which passed the House last week, also raises the independent federal agency’s lending cap from the current $100 billion to $140 billion. The vote was 78-20.

The bank, which has been renewed several dozen times with little notice since its establishment in 1934, became caught this year between business groups that strongly support it and conservative organizations, such as Club for Growth, that said the bank is market-distorting and should be abolished. Obama has said it is key to his job-promoting goal of doubling exports over a five-year period.

A side issue has been the split between supporters of Boeing Co., the Ex-Im Bank’s largest beneficiary, and Delta Air Lines, which has claimed that its bottom line has been hurt because its foreign competitors, such as Air India, have used Ex-Im financing to buy Boeing’s newest aircraft.


Penney sees quarterly loss as pricing shift deters sales

Turns out, American shoppers don’t prefer predictable pricing over blockbuster bargains – at least not yet.

J.C. Penney on Tuesday reported a larger-than-expected first-quarter loss that missed Wall Street’s already low expectations largely because customers were turned off by the retailer’s plan to get rid of heavy discounting periodically throughout the year in favor of everyday low pricing.

The aim of the strategy, which was rolled out Feb. 1, is to deter shoppers from waiting for the nearly 600 sales Penney used to offer each year. But the move has backfired: It seems many faithful Penny customers have stopped shopping altogether.


Dow nears four-month low on fears of eurozone crisis

U.S. stocks declined Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average ending near a four-month low, as economic reports failed to deflect the latest breakdown in Greece’s attempts to form a coalition.

“Today we had some good economic numbers, but worries over in euro land” hit the single currency, said Peter Cardillo, chief economist at Rockwell Gobal Capital. The euro’s fall helped propel the dollar to a four-month high as investors sought the perceived safety of the American currency over riskier assets, including equities and commodities.

Finishing lower for a ninth out of the last 10 sessions, the Dow shed 63.35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,632.

JPMorgan Chase rose 1.3 percent after CEO Jamie Dimon said he did not envision the bank’s $2 billion trading loss affecting the bank’s dividend.

Home Depot Inc. fell 2.4 percent after the home-improvement retailer’s revenue outlook missed estimates.

The S&P 500 Index fell 7.69 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,330.66, ending below a key technical support, Cardillo said. “If we close below 1,335 on the S&P, we could be headed for a more serious pullback than previously thought,” he said.

The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 8.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,893.76.