Stocks rise, but iPhone response bruises Apple

NEW YORK — Investors decided the risk of a conflict with Syria is shrinking and sent stock prices mostly higher on Wednesday.

But disappointment over Apple’s new iPhone lineup dragged down tech stocks. The two S&P 500 stocks with the biggest declines were Apple and the chip supplier Qualcomm, which makes the radio chip used in previous iPhones and is expected to make the chip used in the new iPhones.

Apple’s new phones struck many as only a modest advance from previous models. Also, some analysts felt that Apple’s lowest-priced iPhone — $549 without a two-year cell phone contract — isn’t cheap enough to win many buyers in emerging markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 135.54 to close at 15,326.60. The S&P 500 edged up 5.14 points to 1,689.13. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 4.01 to 3,725.01.

Verizon floats biggest bond issue in history

NEW YORK — Verizon raised $49 billion on Wednesday in the largest corporate bond deal ever.

The sale dwarfs the previous record, Apple’s sale of $17 billion in bonds in April, and proceeds from the sale on Wednesday will help Verizon buy the rest of its U.S. wireless business from partner Vodafone.

That $130 billion buyout of Vodafone is expected to rank as the second-largest deal when completed.

Wholesale stockpiles in U.S. up slightly in July

WASHINGTON — U.S. wholesalers increased in their stockpiles only slightly in July after three monthly declines, while their sales barely rose. The tepid gains add to worries about slower economic growth in the July-September quarter.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that wholesale stockpiles rose just 0.1 percent in July from June. That followed a 0.3 percent decline in June.

Sales rose just 0.1 percent in July, the smallest gain since December.

Economists sign letter backing Yellen for Fed

WASHINGTON — More than 350 economists have a signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to be the Fed’s next chairman.

The letter is designed to draw attention back to Yellen amid signs that Obama is leaning toward nominating his former economic adviser Larry Summers.

The letter, whose signers include economists with past ties to Obama, credits Yellen for prescience in warning in 2005 about an impending real estate meltdown, for her consensus style of leadership and for her commitment to job growth.

Obama is expected to announce his nomination as early as this month.

Airlines: Case against huge merger is flawed

DALLAS — American Airlines and US Airways say that the government’s opposition to their planned merger shows that it doesn’t understand the airline industry.

The Justice Department and several states sued last month to block the merger, on the grounds that it would hurt consumers. Both airlines serve Charleston.

The airlines said in court filings that Justice’s analysis ignores competition that now exists from low-cost carriers such as Southwest.

American says that the government instead relies on “anecdotes involving small numbers of passengers” and an outdated vision of the industry.

Staff and wire reports