Confidence in Cook boosts Apple shares

Apple's stock touched a new high Wednesday, reflecting investors' renewed faith in CEO Tim Cook's ability to outwit the competition and expand the technological hit factory built by the late Steve Jobs. The milestone represents a dramatic turnaround in sentiment since Apple's shares reached its previous split-adjusted peak of $100.72 in September 2012. After hitting $101.09 Wednesday afternoon, shares slipped back to $100.87, still up by 34 cents for the session. That gave Apple a market value of $604 billion — by far more than any other publicly held company.

$16.65B deal ahead in toxic mortgages

The Justice Department is poised to announce a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over accusations that it duped investors into buying toxic mortgage securities, say people briefed on the matter — the single largest government settlement by a company in U.S. history. Yet even as that accord nears completion, prosecutors are readying a separate civil case against Angelo Mozilo, the man who came to embody the risk-taking for which Bank of America is now paying dearly, a rare move against a senior executive at the center of the financial crisis. The settlement will be a coda to a painful period for the bank and the broader financial industry. More than any other Wall Street giant, Bank of America was the source of the toxic subprime loans that helped ignite the crisis — the result of the bank's acquisitions of Mozilo's Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. The expected settlement could be announced as soon as Thursday.

UPS reveals computer breach

United Parcel Service Inc. said a breach of computer systems at UPS Store retail outlets may have exposed customers' personal and payment data at some locations this year. Malware was found at 51 locations in 24 states, or about 1 percent of the 4,470 franchise stores across the U.S., UPS said Wednesday. No locations in Minnesota were included. About 105,000 transactions were affected, although the company can't yet say how many customers, said Chelsea Lee, a UPS Store spokeswoman. The incursion adds Atlanta-based UPS to a roster of major companies facing attacks from hackers.

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