- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

___

CVS Caremark plans to stop tobacco products sales

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) - CVS, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products as it continues to shift its focus toward being more of a health care provider.

The company said Wednesday that it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1 in its 7,600 stores nationwide, in a move that will help grow its business that works with doctors, hospitals and others to improve customers’ health.

The move is the latest evidence of a big push in the drugstore industry that has been taking place over several years. Major drugstore chains have been adding in-store clinics and expanding their health care offerings. Their pharmacists deliver flu shots and other immunizations, and their clinics now manage chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes and treat relatively minor problems like sinus infections.

___

What is going on with the stock market?

NEW YORK (AP) - It’s a skeptics’ market now. Just three weeks after stocks reached all-time highs, the market has turned volatile and investors have gone from cheerful to suspicious.

They’re worried about reports of slowing growth in the world’s largest economies, disappointed by earnings that never seem good enough and concerned about the stock market’s frequent triple-digit swings.

It isn’t a surprise to most money managers, who expected this year would be rougher after last year’s almost 30-percent surge. No stock market can go straight up. But the fact that the volatility started so early caught some investors by surprise.

Even with major indexes down 5 percent or more, there is room for optimism. There’s no sign the economy will backtrack into a stock-killing recession and any big stock-market drop is unlikely to last long.

___

Was Microsoft smart to play it safe with CEO pick?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - After compiling a list of more than 100 CEO candidates, Microsoft settled on Satya Nadella a home-grown leader who joined the software maker in the early 1990s. That’s back when Google’s founders were teenagers and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in elementary school.

Tuesday’s hiring of Nadella as Microsoft’s CEO after a five-month search is a safe move that’s likely to be greeted with sighs of relief around the company’s Redmond, Wash. headquarters, industry analysts say. But the methodical, almost predictable decision is likely to reinforce perceptions that Microsoft Corp. is a plodding company reluctant to take risks as it competes against younger rivals who relish going out on a limb.

Story Continues →