Indexes bounce back, but oil still tumbles

After a shaky start, U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Wednesday as technology and industrial companies rose. Banks fell with interest rates as the market came off its biggest loss in five months on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 4.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,348.45. Nike dragged down the Dow Jones industrial average, which fell 6.71 points to 20,661.30. The Nasdaq composite rose 27.82 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,821.64. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies sank 0.95 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,345.60. U.S. crude lost 20 cents to $48.04 a barrel in New York.


Bird flu outbreak grows in Southern states

A bird flu outbreak that has led officials to euthanize more than 200,000 birds in three Southern states already is the nation’s worst since 2015 and new cases are still popping up, an expert said Wednesday. Agriculture officials in Alabama are trying to limit the damage, but it’s unclear whether quarantines, transportation bans and mass killings will stop the spread, said Joseph Hess, a poultry science professor at Auburn University. The disease was first confirmed in southern Tennessee earlier this month and has since been detected in northern Alabama and western Kentucky. Alabama officials said no infected birds have entered the nation’s poultry supply and the U.S. food chain isn’t at risk.


Film industry set box-office record in 2016

The Motion Picture Association of America said Wednesday that the worldwide box office reached a record $38.6 billion in 2016, though international revenue was essentially stagnant. Box-office figures in North America hit a record $11.4 billion, although the increase of $300 million was due largely to rising ticket prices.