FED RELEASES RESULTS OF BANKS' STRESS TESTS
The Federal Reserve clears the way for many of the nation's largest banks to raise dividends and buy back shares as it released the results of its latest round of stress tests.
JPMORGAN LEADS BANKS SET TO RAISE DIVIDEND
J. P. Morgan Chase leads a flurry of the biggest U.S. banks in announcing dividend increases and stock buybacks, two days before the Fed was initially set to release the results of this year's stress tests.
FED STAYS PAT ON MONETARY POLICY
Fed's policy committee holds its course in its assessment of the U.S. economy, acknowledging improvements in the labor market, but cautioning economic risks remain and inflation could rise temporarily due to recent oil and gas price increases.
US STOCKS SURGE TO MULTIYEAR HIGHS
Shares finish broadly higher, catching an early lift from solid economic data and rocketing in the final hour after surprise stress-test results from JP Morgan and Bank of America. DJIA ends at 13178, its highest close since December 2007.
US RETAIL SALES UP 1.1%; INVENTORIES CLIMB
Sales at U.S. retailers rise 1.1% to an adjusted $407.81 billion last month, in line with estimates and the fastest pace of growth in five months as spending increases at auto dealerships, gas stations and clothing stores.
TRADE FIGHT FLARES OVER CHINA MINERALS
The Obama administration escalates its trade offensive against China by asking the World Trade Organization to force the export giant to ease its stranglehold on rare-earth minerals, a move that China's state media says could trigger a backlash and hurt ties.
GOP HOPEFULS BATTLE FOR ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI
Polls are set to close within hours in Mississippi and Alabama, where Mitt Romney has an opportunity to add to his lead in the Republican presidential race by winning in Southern contests he has characterized as "a bit of an away game."
DELL TO PAY ABOUT $1.2 BLN FOR SONICWALL
Dell says it will buy tech-security company SonicWall, the computer maker's latest effort to expand beyond its traditional hardware businesses. People familiar with the matter value the deal at $1.2 billion, and one says the price includes SonicWall debt.
GREECE TO GET FIRST PAYMENT BEFORE MARCH 20
Greece will get its first payment under the second bailout program before March 20, the European Council of member states says.
CALPERS PANEL BACKS CUT IN PENSION RETURN TARGET
A committee of the Calpers board votes to lower the $225 billion pension fund's assumed rate of return to 7.5% from 7.75%, meaning California city and county governments must pay millions in added contributions to Calpers.
JP MORGAN FUND HALTS FUNDRAISING FOR NOW
J.P. Morgan Chase has for now ceased efforts to raise a new $750 million real estate fund because of lack of investor interest in the type of high-risk, high-return deals that it was planning to do, sources say.
======= DOW JONES NEWSWIRES ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARIES =======
POINT OF VIEW
Treasury Yield Rise Greets Realistic Fed
Yields on U.S. Treasury 10-year notes are at highest level of the year, albeit still in a remarkably low neighborhood. It's as if a big economic bear has thrown in the towel. That perceived economic skeptic is the Federal Reserve. Neal Lipschutz explains.
Shoppers Return To Malls--With Wallets Open
Despite some caveats to U.S. retail figures, sales increases at department stores and on Internet shopping sites suggest consumers have entered the virtuous cycle that propels an economy from recovery into expansion, writes Kathleen Madigan.
============ U.S. MARKETS ACTION ===========
DJIA up 217.97 points to 13177.68
NASDAQ up 56.22 points to 3039.88
S&P 500 up 24.86 points to 1395.95
10-year T-note 98 26/32 at 2.1301 yield
NYMEX Crude up $0.37 at $106.71/bbl at close
Dollar/Euro down 0.0090 at 1.30840