Nasdaq composite records 4th straight record high ... World Bank projects improved economic growth ... Drug prices

Posted 5:37 p.m. Tuesday

— The Nasdaq composite index notched its fourth record-high close in a row today, registering a modest gain on a day when the other major U.S. stock indexes barely budged. After wavering between small gains and losses for much of the day, the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed unchanged, while the Dow Jones industrial average posted a slight loss.The Nasdaq composite increased 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,551.82. The index has closed higher the past six days in a row. The Dow slipped 31.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,855.53. The S&P ended unchanged at 2,268.90.

The World Bank is forecasting the global economy will accelerate slightly in 2017 after turning in the worst performance last year since the 2008 financial crisis. The 189-nation lending agency says today that the global growth should expand at a 2.7 percent annual rate this year. That's down from the bank's June forecast for 2.8 percent growth this year, but better than last year's 2.3 percent growth.

—Johnson & Johnson plans next month to disclose average price increases of its prescription drugs, as the industry tries to calm the storm over soaring prices. The health care giant will divulge its 2016 average increases in list price and net price, or what middlemen such as insurers and distributors pay J&J after discounts and rebates. Analysts say that will help the company's image more than patients initially, but could push other drug makers to tame future price increases and be more transparent.

Wells Fargo has announced a complete restructuring of how it pays tellers and other bank branch employees, with incentives now tied to how often customers use their account. This comes as the company tries to right itself after a scandal over its aggressive sales practices. The long-anticipated plan has been considered a high priority for CEO Tim Sloan and Mary Mack, the head of Wells Fargo's community bank division — both of whom took those jobs after the scandal emerged.

An advocacy group for small businesses says the expectations of company owners for the economy surged after the election to the highest level since December 2004. That's according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The group says its Index of Small Business Optimism, compiled by a survey of 619 members, gained 7.4 points to 105.8 last month.


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