US stocks rise on budget-deal hopes
The stock market finally shook its post-election slump.
Investors seized on hope that Washington will reach a deal on the federal budget and drove stocks Monday to their biggest gain in two months. A pair of strong corporate-earnings reports also helped.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 207 points, or 1.7 percent. Since President Barack Obama and a divided Congress were returned to power Nov. 6, the Dow had fallen six of eight days and a total of 650 points.
Obama and congressional leaders are in talks to avoid going over a “fiscal cliff” Jan. 1, when tax increases and mandatory government spending cuts are set to take effect.
Though Obama and Republicans appear at odds on whether tax rates for the wealthiest Americans should rise, lawmakers suggested over the weekend that progress is possible.
Lowe’s net income in 3Q surges
Lowe’s Cos. said Monday that its third-quarter net income surged 76 percent, helped by lower costs and higher revenue, as the company’s efforts to revamp its merchandise and prices appeared to be gaining traction.
Its adjusted earnings without charges and its revenue both beat Wall Street forecasts. Its shares rose 5 percent in early premarket trading Monday.
Lowe’s has been retooling its pricing strategy and last summer returned to offering permanent low prices on many items across the store, instead of offering fleeting discounts. But the changes have been slow to catch on, and last quarter, Lowe’s said it could take until the middle of next year to reap the benefits of the strategy.
2 workers shoulder blame for disaster
The manslaughter charges brought against two relatively low-ranking BP rig workers in the deadly Gulf of Mexico disaster may be as far as federal prosecutors are willing to go. Or maybe they intend to use the two men to work their way up the corporate ladder.
The Justice Department has said only that its criminal investigation still is going on. As a result, others are left guessing about prosecutors’ intentions.
“Either there simply isn’t evidence that anybody higher up was involved, or the department has concluded the only way it’s going to make its case against more-senior corporate officers is if it charges and eventually obtains cooperation” from the two men, said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.
A federal indictment unsealed last week charged BP rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine with botching a crucial safety test before the 2010 drilling-platform explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
From wire reports