Aug. 20 - Summary of business headlines: Apple now the most valuable company in history; CME takes European fight to Deutsche Boerse, NYSE Euronext; Best Buy picks CEO; Lowe's low forecast. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street gave up little ground as corporate headlines kept traders busy but wary of pushing the market beyond a six-week rally. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq each finishing just about where they started. Apple is now the most valuable company - ever. The tech giant takes over the spot Microsoft set at the height of 1990s tech craze. Shares of Apple jumped 2.6 percent; its market value now stands at more than $622 billion. CME Group, the parent of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is looking to break up a duopoly. The top U.S. futures exchange plans to open its first European exchange next year, bringing the fight to Germany's Deutsche Boerse and French-U.S. conglomerate NYSE Euronext. Best Buy picked French turnaround expert Hubert Joly as its next CEO. The executive used to lead hospitality and travel company Carlson and has had proven success in fixing up companies in the tech, media, and services sector. But shares were down over 10 percent after talks with Best Buy's founder to take the company private broke down. Sticking with retail - Lowe's lowers its outlook for the year. Sales and earnings missed forecasts as a new everyday low price strategy failed to catch on with consumers. Oil prices strayed little from three-month highs and there's an upward bias, says Robert Sinclair Jr. of AAA. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT SINCLAIR JR. MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGER, AAA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Geopolitical tensions with Iran with threatening to bomb their nuclear program and with them retaliating by saying they will mine the Straights of Hormuz, through which fully 20 percent of the world's crude oil transits, that creates a fear tax where the price of crude oil goes up in response amid worries that something might happen." That means drivers should expect to pay more at the pump in coming weeks. Over in Europe - stocks fell as investors try to figure out what the European Central Bank will or will not do to stop the debt crisis. Conway Gittens, Reuters