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Stocks show modest declines...Target shares plunge...Banks earn more

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 28, 2017 at 3:50 p.m.

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NEW YORK (AP) — In advance of President Donald Trump's speech to Congress tonight, stocks have been moderately lower in afternoon trading. Investors will be seeking more clarity on tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other policies.

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares in Target have been down by more than 13 percent to a two-year low. The retail chain says its profit fell 43 percent during the most recent quarter, as its customers moved their business online and elsewhere. The numbers in Target's report rattled Wall Street, dragging down Wal-Mart, Macy's and other retailers.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. banks' earnings in the final quarter of 2016 rose 7.7 percent from a year earlier, as lending continued to grow and banks set aside less for losses on loans for the first time since late 2015. The data issued today by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed strength in the industry more than eight years after the financial crisis struck. However, banks continued to post bigger losses on loans, especially for credit cards and commercial and industrial loans.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence has reached it highest level in more than 15 years, good news for the economy. The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 114.8 in February from 111.6 in January. It's at its highest since July 2001.The index measures both consumers' assessment of current conditions and their expectations for the future. Both improved in February.

DETROIT (AP) — Audi, Porsche and BMW are the best-performing brands in Consumer Reports' annual rankings, but lower-priced options aren't far behind. Subaru, Kia, Mazda and Honda also made it into the organization's top ten brands for 2017. The brand rankings combine scores from Consumer Reports' road tests as well as reliability and satisfaction ratings that are based on owner surveys.

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