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Stocks down again...CVS quitting cigarettes...Merck shares up on cancer drug collaboration

Wednesday - 2/5/2014, 11:40am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market's modest recovery yesterday isn't carrying over in early trading on Wall Street. The Dow dropped as much as 105 points in the first hour of trading and remains firmly lower. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are also lower. Time Warner shares are down about 2 percent after the company report a 12 percent drop in quarterly profits.

UNDATED (AP) -- The nation's second-largest drugstore chain says it will stop selling cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco. CVS Caremark announced today that it will phase out sales of tobacco products at its drugstores nationwide by Oct. 1. CVS says the move will help expand its work with doctors, hospitals and other care providers to improve customers' health. CVS and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores and expanding their health care focus for several years now.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) -- Competition from generic drugs is eating into Merck's sales. The world's third-biggest drugmaker reports a 14 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit. It says reduced revenue from overseas and unfavorable currency exchange rates also cut into profits. However, the company's shares are higher in morning trading after Merck announced potentially lucrative collaboration agreements with three other drugmakers to test its hot experimental cancer drug in combination with theirs.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Payroll processor ADP says private businesses added 175,000 jobs last month. That's actually down from ADP's revised numbers for December, but much better than the government's official figure of just 74,000 new jobs. The ADP numbers cover only private employers and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.

GENEVA (AP) -- Switzerland is tightening security for its computer and telephone systems, and that could block foreign companies from government technology and communications contracts. The Swiss government cites concerns about foreign spies targeting Switzerland. In a statement, it says contracts for critical IT infrastructure will "where possible, only be given to companies that act exclusively according to Swiss law, where a majority of the ownership is in Switzerland and which provides all of its services from within Switzerland's borders."


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