By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Nasdaq rose modestly in choppy trade on Thursday as Apple's shares rallied a day after the iPad maker's strong results, though tensions in Ukraine held back the broader market. Caterpillar Inc shares jumped nearly 2 percent and helped limit the Dow's loss after the world's largest maker of earth-moving machinery reported earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The three major U.S. stock indexes had opened sharply higher, with the Nasdaq initially climbing more than 1 percent before turning negative in the first half-hour of trading. Wall Street bounced off session lows with gains again concentrated in the Nasdaq, but stocks remained well off earlier highs.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to settle a large antitrust lawsuit over no-hire agreements in Silicon Valley, according to a court filing on Thursday. Tech workers filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Inc and Adobe Systems Inc in 2011, alleging they conspired not to poach one another's employees in order to avert a salary war. The case, closely watched in Silicon Valley, was largely built on emails among top executives, including late Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who agreed not to approach each others employees with job offers.
By Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet PARIS (Reuters) - Shares of Alstom jumped more than 14 percent on Thursday after a report that U.S. conglomerate General Electric was in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. If confirmed, a takeover offer from a foreign company would raise concern among politicians and unions in France, where Alstom employs around 18,000 staff, or 20 percent of its global workforce. A deal could hand GE control of Alstom's high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology, and has the support of Bouygues , Alstom's biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake, the report said. However, one person familiar with the industry said GE's ultimate aim might be to buy Alstom's power business rather than its rail arm - a deal that would leave its transport business as a separate publicly listed company in Paris.
By Ben Klayman and Bernie Woodall DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's first-quarter profit tumbled 88 percent on Thursday due to the massive recall for defective ignition switches, and shares fell 1.3 percent after the company said expectations for the rest of the year must be trimmed. While the company's results topped expectations on strong pricing for its redesigned pickup trucks in North America, it did not raise its full-year outlook by a corresponding amount. GM said in January its 2014 earnings would finish slightly higher. While leaving the outlook for the full year unchanged on Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said the stronger first quarter means the outlook for the rest of the year will have to come down.