Strong housing and earnings reports helped stocks rebound from their worst day of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 157.58 points, or 1.1 percent, on Tuesday, to 14,756.78, winning back more than half of the 265 points it lost a day earlier.
With the "fiscal cliff" just hours away and politicians yet to reach a solution, the stock market struggled to decide which way to go. The Dow Jones industrial average hopped between small gains and losses in morning trading.
Food maker General Mills says its board has approved an 8 percent increase to its dividend. The Minneapolis-based maker of Cheerios cereal, Nature Valley granola bars and Hamburger Helper says its new dividend of 33 cents will be paid on Aug. 1 to shareholders of record as of July 10.
Facebook updated its status to "public company" on Friday. After an anxiety-filled half-hour delay, its stock began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market for the first time as investors were finally able to put a dollar value on the company that turned online social networking into a global cultural phenomenon. But as many people looked for a big first-day pop in Facebook's share price, the single-digit increase was somewhat of a letdown.
Facebook says it has priced its initial public offering of stock at $38 per share. That's the high end of its expected range of $34 to $38. It means investor demand is strong for the world's largest online social network.
Facebook has set a price range of $28 to $35 for its initial public offering of stock. At the high end, this could raise as much as $11.8 billion. If the underwriters sell the extra stock reserved for overallotments, the IPO will value Facebook at $79.3 billion at the high end of the price range.
The Nasdaq composite index briefly broke through 3,000 on Wednesday for the first time since the collapse in dot-com stocks more than a decade ago. Stocks ended lower, but it was still the best February on Wall Street in 14 years.
U.S. stocks had a big January, and they're starting February strong, too. Stocks climbed Wednesday after strong manufacturing data and encouraging reports about the Greek debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average closed within 100 points of its post-2008 financial crisis peak.
The company is expected to file as early as Wednesday to sell stock on the open market in what will be the most talked-about initial public offering since Google in 2004, maybe since the go-go 1990s. Around the nation, regular investors and IPO watchers are anticipating some kind of twist — perhaps a provision for the 800 million users of Facebook, a company that promotes itself as all about personal connections, to get in on the action.
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