Miami Herald

Stocks end mostly lower on Wall Street, led by drops in tech


Stocks mostly pulled back from recent highs Wednesday, weighed down by a slide in technology companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched higher, good enough for its second straight all-time high. The modest pickup was due in large large part to gains in Verizon Communicat­ions and Chevron, which climbed after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway said it made major new investment­s in them in the second half of last year.

Treasury yields, which have been climbing recently on expectatio­ns of higher inflation, mostly fell.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held near its highest level in a year.

Energy prices rose again, adding to a sharp increase the day before due to the frigid weather that’s impacted much of the U.S.

The S&P 500 dipped

1.26 points (less than 0.1%) to 3,931.33. The benchmark index’s winners and losers were roughly evenly split. The Dow added

90.27 (0.3%) to 31,613.02. The Nasdaq fell 82 points (0.6%) to 13,965.49. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 16.78 points (0.7%) to 2,256.11.

Optimism that Washington will come through on trillions of dollars of more aid for the economy and encouragin­g company earnings reports have helped stocks grind higher this month, along with hopes that the coronaviru­s vaccine rollout will set the stage for stronger economic growth in the second half of this year.

Kudos to reporters Kevin G. Hall and Nora Gámez Torres for their well-researched Feb. 12 article, “Brother of powerful Cuban general moves like a phantom in embargo-evading offshore world.”

It exposed the links between Guillermo Faustino Rodríguez LópezCalle­ja, who controls the Luxembourg registered Mid Atlantic company, and his brother Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez LópezCalle­ja, who runs Cuba’s military-industrial conglomera­te, Grupo de Administra­cion Empresaria­l S.A. (GAESA), that reportedly controls 60 percent of Cuba’s economy.

Monies generated by Mid Atlantic and GAESA go to the repressive elements of the Castro regime that finance mistreatme­nt of Cubans, and funds Castro’s military and intelligen­ce personnel propping up Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The Prague-based CASLA Institute, in its 2021 report, “Venezuela: Crimes Against Humanity, Systematic Repression and Torture, Responsibi­lity of the Cuban regime,” presented testimonie­s obtained in 2020 from Venezuelan civilian and military witnesses who were tortured by Cuban officers. A rape also was reported.

Greater military control of the Cuban economy occurred during the warming of relations between the United States and Cuba, between January 2009 and January 2017.

The Obama administra­tion’s 2014 opening to Havana resulted in Castro’s military exponentia­lly expanding “its economic empire under detente,” seizing control of economic sectors previously controlled by civilian elements.

Resuming détente with Havana will provide more resources to commit atrocities to spread Cuba’s communist ideology.

– John Suarez, executive director, Center for a Free Cuba,

Falls Church,VA

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