Business briefs: Officials from federal reserve to speak at New College

Fed folks to speak at New College

SARASOTA -- Officials from two Federal Reserve banks will present "The Economic Outlook, Monetary Policy and Energy: Thoughts from Federal Reserve Research Directors" at New College of Florida.

The event, co-sponsored by New College and the Global Interdependence Center, will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Sainer Pavilion on the College's Caples Campus, 5313 Bay Shore Road, immediately south of the Ringling Museum.

The speakers are:

David E. Altig, executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Altig oversees the bank's regional executives and the bank's research department. He also serves as a member of the bank's management and discount committees.

Mine K. Yücel, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. She has been with the bank since 1989 and has been head of the bank's micro/regional/energy group and director of publications for many years. She will speak on energy.

Applications for jobless aid climb to 18-week high

WASHINGTON -- The end of the holiday season led to more Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week, raising the number of applications to an 18-week high. Still, the level remains near historically low levels.

The Labor Department says applications for benefits jumped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 316,000.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 6,750 to 298,000.

Stocks fall as banks, Best Buy slump on earnings

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell for a fifth straight day as banks and Best Buy slid after corporate earnings disappointed, while Apple paced a decline in technology shares.

Bank of America and Citigroup fell at least 3.7 percent as both banks reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit as revenue from fixed-income trading declined. Best Buy tumbled 14 percent as the largest electronics retailer warned that price pressure and sluggish demand may hamper results.

The S&P 500 fell 0.9 percent to 1,992.73, the lowest since Dec. 16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 102.37 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,324.72. The Nasdaq 100 Index retreated 1.4 percent as Apple declined 2.7 percent.

-- Herald staff, wire reports