April 11 - Summary of business headlines: Dow, S&P 500 cross new milestones despite tech downgrade, PC sales slump; Google proposes EU anti-trust remedy; March store sales weakest in 3-plus years; Jobless claims drop to November low. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street shakes off weak numbers out of the technology sector to extend a rally to a fourth session. And that means another day of records for the Dow and S&P 500. And the Nasdaq managed to end at multi-year highs. Microsoft was downgraded by a number of Wall Street analysts. Poor adoption of Windows 8 is being blamed for the biggest quarterly drop in PC sales in the two decades IDC has been keeping track. The rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets are also factors. Microsoft is trying to get in on that action with a new lineup for its Surface tablet, according to the Wall Street Journal. But for now anything attached to PCs face a difficult future. Shares of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, as well as chip makers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices - all down. Sticking with technology, Google has officially offered a remedy for anti-competitive complaints filed with the European Commission. According to our sources, Google has offered to clearly label its services in search results to address concerns it favors its own products in queries. Regulators will test how the proposed resolutions work in the real world. Weather prevented shoppers from making numerous trips to the malls in March - resulting in disappointing same-store sales at many of the nation's retailers. Sales at stores opened at least a year grew at its slowest rate in more than three years. Mike Niemira is chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers. SOUNDBITE: MIKE NIEMIRA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Well, we've been seeing abnormally cold weather through the month of March and that's just not the right environment to help spring apparel merchandise. We had an early Easter which should have also re-inforced that positive and it just did not happen." The Commerce Department will release its comprehensive retail sales report Friday. Ahead of that, the Labor Department says jobless claims saw their largest one-week drop since mid-November. In international news - Russia slashed its growth forecast for the year to 2.4 percent from 3.6 percent. Why? Consumer demand, investments, and exports - all weaker than forecast. As for European markets: Germany, France and the UK - all up for the day.