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Stocks gain...Penney shares plunge...USAirways flight attendants approve new contract

Thursday - 2/28/2013, 3:49pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Investors have a mixed bag of economic news to consider, including earnings reports, a drop in jobless claims and a small upward revision in the gross domestic product for the last quarter of 2012. Washington's budget battle is also hanging over the market, with spending cuts set to automatically kick in tomorrow.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of J.C. Penney Co. are plunging, a day after the department-store chain reported its fourth straight massive quarterly loss. Penney shares have fallen about 19 percent today, or $3.98, to $17.18. The Plano, Texas company's shares have now lost 60 percent of their value since early last year.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wendy's is standing by its outlook for the year as it pushes ahead with restaurant remodeling plans intended to boost its image. The fast-food chain says it will remodel 100 company-owned locations and 100 franchised locations this year, aiming for a more inviting atmosphere with comfortable seating and flat-screen TVs. The Dublin, Ohio, company reported today that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income grew more than six-fold, partly because of a larger tax benefit.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Flight attendants at US Airways have approved a new contract that wraps up some unfinished business from the airline's 2005 merger with America West. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA says 80 percent of flight attendants voted to approve the deal, which was rejected twice previously. The union covers workers who came from both America West and the old US Airways. The process will have to be repeated if the merger of US Airways and American Airlines goes through.

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) -- Apple says people have downloaded more than 1 billion items from iTunes U, which features free books, lectures and other information from schools, libraries and museums around the world. Apple says more than 1,200 universities and 1,200 K-12 schools host courses on iTunes U, and there are now single iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them. An Apple official calls this a "phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn."

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