Small-business loans rise in 4th quarter
Small-business lending is showing small signs of growth, according to data compiled by the government.
The total amount of small- business loans outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter came to $586 billion, up from $584 billion in the third quarter, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That was the first quarterly gain in small- business lending since the FDIC began tracking loans on a quarterly basis at the start of 2010. The FDIC is a government agency that insures bank deposits and oversees financial companies.
Despite the year-end improvement, the lending environment for small business remains weak. The December number was down from $598 billion in the final quarter of 2011 and $626 billion at the end of 2010.
Dow has worst day in more than month
Weak reports on hiring and service industries sent the stock market sharply lower Wednesday, giving the Dow Jones industrial average its worst day in more than a month.
The Dow fell 111.66 points, or 0.8 percent, to 14,550.35, its worst decline since Feb. 25. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 16.56 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,553.69. Both indexes closed at record highs the day before.
The stock market started 2013 with a rally as investors became more optimistic about the U.S. economy, especially housing and jobs. The reports Wednesday disappointed the market and came two days after news that U.S. manufacturing growth slowed unexpectedly last month.
Boeing 787 testing more than half done
Boeing said it has finished more than half of the testing on its proposed battery fix for the 787, with the rest of the ground and flight tests coming in the next several days.
The test results so far have been in line with the testing Boeing did when it was developing the fix, spokesman Marc Birtel said Wednesday.
Smoldering batteries — including one fire on the ground — prompted air- safety authorities to ground the world’s 787s in mid- January. Boeing has developed what it believes is a permanent fix, including more heat insulation and a system for venting battery gases outside of the plane.
The tests under way now are aimed at demonstrating that the fix worked.