Markets down amid further violence in Libya

The lawsuit says CVS drew on the data to push drugmakers' wares.
The lawsuit says CVS drew on the data to push drugmakers' wares. (Scott Olson)
Thursday, March 10, 2011

U.S. stocks fell Wednesday, sending the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lower for a third time in four days as violence in Libya tempered optimism that the biggest equity rally since 1955 will extend into a third year.

Caterpillar and DuPont dropped at least 1 percent, pacing losses in industrial shares. Texas Instruments slumped 3.1 percent as the largest maker of analog chips narrowed its earnings forecast. Finisar tumbled 39 percent, leading other network-equipment makers lower, as its profit estimate missed analysts' projections. IBM rose 2.2 percent as Deutsche Bank lifted its share- price estimate for the largest computer services provider.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.1 percent to 1320.02 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.29 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 12,213.09 as IBM, which makes up about 10 percent of the Dow, propped up the 30-stock gauge. Oil slid 0.6 percent to settle at $104.38 a barrel as a surge in supplies at a U.S. hub overshadowed concern about violence in Libya.

- Bloomberg News


Suit says CVS misused private customer data

CVS Caremark, the largest U.S. provider of prescription drugs, has been sued over claims it used confidential prescription information to push products on behalf of pharmaceutical makers.

CVS violated the privacy and rights of consumers by sending letters to customers' physicians that promoted specific medications, says a complaint filed Monday in state court in Philadelphia. CVS is alleged to have identified consumers by name, date of birth and medications taken, drawing on information obtained through CVS pharmacy services.

CVS was paid for the promotion of competing drugs by AstraZeneca, Merck and Bayer, according to the complaint filed by Richboro, Pa., resident Arthur Steinberg and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund.

CVS has been plagued by privacy concerns since 2007, when it bought Caremark Rx, a pharmacy benefits manager, for about $22 billion. It did not comment on the complaint because it had not received it, a spokeswoman said.

- Bloomberg News


AIG adopts plan to limit shareholders' stakes

American International Group, the bailed-out U.S. insurer, adopted a plan to prevent private shareholders from accumulating stakes of more than 5 percent in the company, a move it said will help protect its tax assets.

AIG, whose biggest private shareholder owns about 2.5 percent of the stock, is preparing for the entrance of new investors as the Treasury Department plans to divest its 92 percent stake. As part of the plan, AIG declared a dividend of preferred-share purchase rights to its stockholders, the company said.

- Bloomberg News

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