The S&P 500 hit new all-time highs yesterday, while other equity indexes slipped. The CBOE Volatility Index climbed back above the 14 level.
Cerberus Capital Management is to buy grocery giant Safeway Inc. and will merge it with another supermarket chain it already owns.
Office supplies chain Staples announced plans Thursday to shut down more than 10 percent of its stores, according to an Associated Press story.
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a three-month low last week, suggesting some strength in a labour market that has been hobbled by severe weather.
Most Chinese stocks fell as investors weighed the implications of Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co.'s bond default and prospects for economic reforms at the National People's Congress.