Stocks Fall with Global Prospects

U. S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday amid worries over global-growth prospects and fears the Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its bond-buying program. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 106.59 points, or 0.69%, to 15,302.80. The S&P 500 index lost 11.70 points, or 0.70%, to 1,648.36. The Nasdaq Composite declined 21.37 points, or 0.61%, to 3,467.52.

Standard & Poor’s said on Wednesday that allowing states to collect sales taxes from online purchases could help state and local governments stave off some revenue losses.

NV Energy Inc.’s (NVE) first-quarter earnings rose 76% as the utilities company sharply reduced expenses, helping to counterbalance lower revenue. NV Energy reported a profit of $21.5 million, or nine cents a share, up from $12.2 million, or five cents, a year ago. ┬áRevenue fell 4.5% to $584.2 million.

Fund manager Bruce Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management is making a big bet on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preferred shares, CNBC reported on Wednesday. The cable business network said the mutual fund firm has taken a roughly $500 million stake in the preferred shares of the mortgage firms that have been operated by the federal government in a conservatorship since September 2008.

The U.S. banking industry posted record profits for the first quarter, the latest indication that the industry has largely recovered its financial footing in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

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