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Time to raise - or scrap - the Social Security payroll tax cap

By Mark Miller CHICAGO (Reuters) - It's Tax Day, and a small number of wealthy Americans have something to celebrate: They are done paying Social Security taxes for the year.

US stocks rise on Citi earnings, retail sales

US stocks rose decisively Monday after a solid earnings report from Citigroup and encouraging retail sales data, reversing course after deep losses late last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 146.49 points (0.91 percent) to 16,173.24, while the S&P 500 gained 14.92 (0.82 percent) at 1,830.61. The Nasdaq, which has fallen sharply over the last month, added 22.96 (0.57 percent) at 4,022.69.

Housing industry asks $5 trillion question: what does Watt want?

By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. housing industry has waited three months to find out how Mel Watt will govern taxpayer-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae <FNMA.OB> and Freddie Mac <FMCC.OB>, and have been frustrated by his silence. The former 11-term congressman from North Carolina, who took over the agency that oversees the two enterprises in January, has not delivered an annual strategic plan, which would usually be public by now.

US retail sales jump 1.1 per cent in March, best showing in 18 months, led by auto sales

WASHINGTON - U.S. retail sales in March rose by the largest amount in 18 months, led by strong gains in sales of autos, furniture and a number of other products. The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales rose 1.1 per cent in March, the best showing since September 2012. The government also revised February to a 0.7 per cent gain, more than double its previous estimate. Sales had fallen in January and December.

Business Highlights

___ Once-soaring tech stocks sink in sobering comedown SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The stock market's laws of gravity are ravaging its highest fliers. Just look at the list of technology trailblazers whose values have plummeted from record highs during the past few weeks. Investors have re-focused on safer sectors such as utilities, health care and consumer staples instead of companies that promise potential growth from online services that are building huge audiences.

US stocks sink again; Nasdaq down 1.3%

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index led Wall Street sharply lower again Friday, closing out a dreary week at its lowest level in more than two months. The Nasdaq sank 54.37 points (1.34 percent) to 3,999.73, the lowest close since February 3, when the index settled for one session below the psychologically important 4,000 level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 140.32 (0.87 percent) to 16,029.90, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 17.28 (0.94 percent) to 1,815.80.

CEO of Exxon Mobil's compensation up 3 per cent to $28.1 million, mostly in stock awards

IRVING, Texas - The CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. received compensation worth $28.1 million last year, a 3 per cent increase over the previous year, according to an Associated Press analysis of a company regulatory filing. Most of Rex W. Tillerson's compensation was in the form of stock awards, which the largest U.S. oil company valued at $21.3 million when they were granted. His overall compensation for 2013 was up from $27.2 million in 2012, under The AP's calculation.

Wells Fargo profit beats estimates, helped by one-time gains

By Peter Rudegeair and Anil D'Silva (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, reported a higher-than-expected 14 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, as a series of one-time gains helped offset the continued slowdown in its home loan business. Net income applicable to common shareholders rose to $5.60 billion, or $1.05 per share, in the quarter, from $4.93 billion, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank said on Friday.

Fitch upgrades Portugal's outlook to 'positive'

Ratings agency Fitch on Friday upgraded its outlook for Portugal to "positive" and maintained the country's credit rating at BB+. Fitch justified its move by citing budgetary efforts agreed by Lisbon as well as the overall recovering economy of the country three years after its bailout. "Portugal is making good progress in reducing its budget deficit," the ratings agency said in a statement. The economy took a big step towards emerging from its debt bailout and regaining investor confidence late last month by beating its budget target by a wide margin.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gives update on online retailer's drone, grocery programs

NEW YORK, N.Y. - CEO Jeff Bezos' annual letter to shareholders offers a glimpse into Amazon's internal workings and what it is aiming for in the future, including more grocery services and the much-discussed drone delivery.
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