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Judge accepts SAC guilty plea, $1.2 billion payout for fraud

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - SAC Capital Advisors' $1.2 billion criminal settlement for insider trading received final court approval on Thursday, as a U.S. judge accepted a guilty plea from the hedge fund firm run by billionaire Steven A. Cohen. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain accepted SAC Capital's guilty plea to fraud charges

Tech stocks lead market rout; Nasdaq plunges 3.1%

Anxiety about pricey technology stocks returned with a vengeance to Wall Street Thursday, sending the Nasdaq down more than 3.0 percent and sparking deep declines in the broader stock market. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 129.79 points (3.10 percent) to 4,054.11, the biggest single-day drop in percentage terms since November 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 266.96 (1.62 percent) to 16,170.22, while the broad-based S&P 500 fell 39.10 (2.09 percent) to 1,833.08.

Money market fund assets fall by $17.7 billion to $2.61 trillion for the week

Total U.S. money market mutual fund assets fell by $17.7 billion to $2.61 trillion for the week that ended Wednesday, according to the Investment Company Institute. Assets in the nation's retail money market mutual funds fell by $4.5 billion to $918.26 billion, the Washington-based mutual fund trade group said Thursday. Assets of taxable money market funds in the retail category fell $3.6 billion to $724.28 billion. Tax-exempt retail fund assets fell $860 million to $193.98 billion.

NY judge sentences SAC Capital according to terms of government's record $1.8B fraud deal

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The once high-flying hedge fund SAC Capital was sentenced on criminal fraud charges Thursday under a $1.8 billion deal that prosecutors say included the largest criminal fine ever imposed in an insider trading case. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan formally administered the sentence on Stamford, Conn.-based SAC Capital LP and three related entities based on pleas last fall by the companies to wire fraud and securities fraud. "These crimes clearly were motivated by greed," Swain said.

U.S. start-ups raise $9.99 billion, hit outsized valuations in first-quarter

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Venture capital funding for U.S. start-ups hit its highest mark since 2001 during the first three months of the year and 11 companies were valued at $1 billion or more, underscoring the increasingly pricey environment for entrepreneurs, according to a report on Thursday from consultancy CB Insights. Venture capitalists invested $9.99 billion across 880 deals in the first quarter of 2014. The dollar amount jumped by 44 percent compared with the same quarter in 2013, while the number of deals rose by 5 percent.

US stocks fall after weak Chinese trade data

US stocks Thursday moved lower in early trade as investors weighed weak Chinese trade data and an encouraging report on US jobless claims. About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 11.69 points (0.07 percent) to 16,425.49. The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 4.49 (0.24 percent) to 1,867.69, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 31.51 (0.75 percent) to 4,152.39. March trade data for China, the world's second-largest economy, showed imports dropped 11.3 percent and exports fell 6.6 percent.

US stocks fall after weak Chinese trade data

US stocks Thursday moved lower in early trade as investors weighed weak Chinese trade data and an encouraging report on US jobless claims. About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 11.69 points (0.07 percent) to 16,425.49. The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 4.49 (0.24 percent) to 1,867.69, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 31.51 (0.75 percent) to 4,152.39. March trade data for China, the world's second-largest economy, showed imports dropped 11.3 percent and exports fell 6.6 percent.

Business Highlights

___ Toyota, GM recalls push US to near-record pace DETROIT (AP) — Big U.S. recalls by General Motors and Toyota have put the auto industry on a record pace as companies try to avoid bad publicity and punishment from an increasingly aggressive government. On Wednesday, Toyota announced it was recalling nearly 1.8 million vehicles in the U.S. to fix a spate of problems, including air bags that might not inflate. It's part of a worldwide recall of 6.4 million cars and trucks.

The kids are mostly cash (and mostly wrong)

(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own) By James Saft (Reuters) - Younger investors may have drawn the right conclusion about the great financial crisis - that they were scammed - but their defensive reaction will simply add self-inflicted wounds to existing injuries.

Los Angeles should adopt Warren Buffett pension formula: report

By Tim Reid (Reuters) - Los Angeles, faced with nearly $10 billion in unfunded pension and retirement liabilities, should adopt the pension formula used by investor Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway Inc to manage the city's growing retirement costs, a report recommended on Wednesday.
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