New stock market milestone: Dow 15,000
NEW YORK (AP) — Just two months after recovering the last of its losses from the financial crisis, the Dow Jones industrial average charged higher Tuesday, closing above 15,000 for the first time.
It was another milestone in the market's epic ascent of 2013. Good economic reports, strong corporate earnings and fresh support from central banks have eased investors' concerns about another economic slowdown. Many had been on the lookout for signs that a spring swoon would derail the rally, as happened in each of the past three years.
Instead, Wall Street has climbed almost 15 percent since Jan. 1.
Microsoft touching up Windows 8 to address gripes
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft is retooling the latest version of its Windows operating system to address complaints and confusion that have been blamed for deepening a slump in personal computer sales.
The tune up announced Tuesday won't be released to consumers and businesses until later this year. The changes, part of a software package given the codename "Blue," are a tacit acknowledgment of the shortcomings in Windows 8, a radical overhaul of Microsoft Corp.'s ubiquitous operating system.
With the makeover it released last October, Microsoft hoped to play a more prominent role in the growing mobile device market while still maintaining its dominance in PCs. But Windows 8's design, which emphasizes interactive tiles and touch controls, seems to have befuddled as many people as it has impressed. One leading research firm, International Data Corp., says Windows 8 contributed to a 14 percent decline in worldwide PC sales during the first three months of the year — the biggest year-over-year drop ever.
Bangladesh garment accident death toll passes 700
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Hundreds of survivors of last month's collapse of a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh protested for compensation Tuesday, as the death toll from the country's worst-ever industrial disaster passed 700.
The police control room overseeing the recovery operation said the death toll stood at 705 on Tuesday afternoon as workers pulled more bodies out of the wreckage of the eight-story building that was packed with workers at five garment factories when it collapsed on April 24. The factories were making clothing bound for major retailers around the world.
The disaster is the worst ever in the garment sector, surpassing the 1911 garment disaster in New York's Triangle Shirtwaist factory, which killed 146 workers, and more recent tragedies such as a 2012 fire that killed about 260 people in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh that killed 112, also in 2012. It is also one of the deadliest industrial accidents ever.
China's struggling automakers jump on SUV boom
SHANGHAI (AP) — BYD is known for electric cars but this year's flagship model is the S7, a gasoline-powered SUV. It comes with an air purifier, radar to help with backing and digital TV. An onboard hard drive can hold 1,000 films.
This is China's Year of the SUV. Whatever their specialties used to be, automakers ranging from global brands to China's ambitious rookies are scrambling to cash in on the explosive popularity of sport utility vehicles.
The SUV boom clashes with Beijing's efforts to push automakers to develop electric cars and to sell smaller vehicles to help curb smog and demand for imported oil. But the SUV's image of safety appeals to prosperous Chinese drivers who face chaotic city streets while electrics from BYD and other producers struggle to attract buyers.
US job postings fell in March; hiring slowed
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in March compared with February and slowed overall hiring, underscoring a weak month of job growth.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings fell 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted 3.8 million jobs. Total hiring declined 4.3 percent to 4.3 million.
The unemployed faced heavy competition in March. There were 3.1 unemployed people, on average, for each job opening. That's above the ratio of 2 to 1 that is typical in a healthy economy.
Survey: US home prices up 10.5 percent in past year
WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey shows U.S. home prices rose 10.5 percent in March compared with a year ago, the biggest gain since March 2006.
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