Stocks close a strong quarter … Retirement plans underfunded … 2 banks fined

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are closing out another strong quarter, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 index its sixth straight quarterly gain. The market was mixed on the day as trading was muted ahead of the July Fourth holiday in the U.S.

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is adding 8.2 million vehicles to its ballooning list of cars recalled over faulty ignition switches. The latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total this year to 29 million, surpassing the 22 million recalled by all automakers last year. CEO Mary Barra said the recalls stem from an extensive safety review within the company. The announcement came hours after the company’s compensation consultant announced plans to pay the victims of crashes caused by the small-car switches.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal agency says that that despite an improving economy, retirement plans covering roughly 1.5 million U.S. workers are severely underfunded, threatening benefit cuts for current and future retirees. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation says that the most at risk are multi-employer plans, which are collectively bargained retirement plans maintained by more than one employer. The report concludes that as shaky as the situation is for the underfunded multi-employer plans, the outlook is slightly better than a year ago.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the face of an unyielding Congress, President Barack Obama says he’s going alone to make policy changes to immigration, his top second-term priority. Obama said he will refocus immigration enforcement onto a Mexican border. That’s where thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have been crossing illegally. Obama said the situation underscores the need to drop the politics and act on immigration.

WASHINGTON (AP) — France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas (pah-rih-BAH’), has pleaded guilty today and agreed to pay nearly $9 billion to resolve criminal allegations that it processed transactions for clients in Sudan and other blacklisted countries in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. It’s the largest case brought by the Justice Department. Meanwhile, U.S. Bank has agreed to pay $200 million to settle allegations that it failed to check on the creditworthiness of thousands of applicants when it issued government-insured mortgage loans between 2006 and 2011. The U.S attorney in Cleveland says today the bank’s lack of due diligence cost taxpayers millions of dollars when it received reimbursement from a Department of Housing and Urban Development insurance fund after loans went bad.

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