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Stocks end mixed; RIM disappoints

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 01:59

March 29 - Summary of business headlines: Dow breaks losing streak but S&P 500, Nasdaq down for third day; Report finds labor violations at China factories of Apple supplier Foxconn; Research In Motion posts disappointing quarterly results. Conway G. Gittens reports.

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It was the third down day in a row for most of Wall Street as recent data failed to inspire. U.S. jobless claims dropped to a new four-year low last week, but the fall was not as big as hoped. And the Commerce Department did not change its fourth-quarter economic growth figure of 3 percent. But there was one notable update: household incomes grew more than expected, suggesting consumers have more spending power. An investigation of working conditions at China's Foxconn, a major Apple partner, revealed multiple violations of labor law: including extreme hours and unpaid overtime, according to research by the Fair Labor Association released on Thursday. Apple says it is working with its partner to improve wages and working conditions. Research In Motion released its first results since getting a new CEO but a new head doesn't mean a new story. The maker of BlackBerry devices missed earnings per share by a penny and revenues failed to meet already low expectations. Shipments of its flagship product were down 21 percent from the prior three months. And there's a management shake-up two top executives are leaving and former co-CEO Jim Balsille is stepping down from the Board of Directors. Bad times for Best Buy. The world's No. 1 consumer electronics chain is shutting 50 big-box stores and cutting 400 jobs after weaker-than-expected sales during the crucial holiday quarter. On Wall Street -blue chips broke trend by moving higher, but the rest of the market fell for a third day. In Europe - demonstrations went into the night in Madrid, Spain, with a few minor skirmishes between police and protesters, labor unions are upset over job losses and benefit reductions. As for the markets- it was another tough day for the bourses. Conway Gittens, Reuters

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Stocks end mixed; RIM disappoints

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 01:59