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Stocks wavering...Saying no to analyst surveys...Conventions pulled from Arizona

Wednesday - 2/26/2014, 4:10pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are wavering in afternoon trading. Several home builder stocks are up sharply after the government reported sales of new homes rose in January at fastest pace in more than five years. But investors also have been assessing a batch of earnings reports from retailers that failed to meet expectations. The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite have all dipped into negative territory, but remain close to where they began the day.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York's attorney general says 18 Wall Street firms have agreed to stop cooperating with analyst surveys that investigators say favor certain elite clients. The agreements follow the office's January pact with asset manager BlackRock to end systematic analyst surveys about companies they follow. The surveys were often timed before the official release of publicly available opinions.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has until Saturday to decide whether to sign or veto a bill that would allow business owners to assert religious beliefs in refusing service to gays. But the measure already appears to losing the state some business. The Hispanic National Bar Association says it will cancel its 2015 convention in Phoenix over the legislation. Last year, the group's convention drew about 2,000 people to Denver.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled that victims of former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford's massive Ponzi scheme can go forward with class-action lawsuits against the law firms, accountants and investment companies that allegedly aided the $7.2 billion fraud. The former investors were blocked under federal law from seeking damages from the firms, but filed suit under state law in Louisiana and Texas. The justices rejected the defendants' claims that those suits were also blocked by a federal law.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services. It alleges the for-profit college chain pushed students into high-cost private student loans knowing they would likely end in default. The bureau says the loans had interest rates as high as 16 percent, and ITT projected a default rate of 64 percent. ITT says the claims are without merit.

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