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Stocks end at record highs once more

Markets ended the day at record highs again. The Dow (^DJI) ended the day up nearly 0.60%. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed up 1.05%. And the S&P 500 (^GSPC) ended the day up 0.65%.

General Motors (GM) released the results of its internal investigation into how it handled the faulty ignition switch recall. In announcing the findings, CEO Mary Barra said the probe found “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” in its failure to disclose and recall the defective vehicles. GM shares closed down 0.68%.

The European Central Bank made historic interest rates cuts this morning. The ECB cut benchmark interest rate to 0.15% and its deposit interest rate to -0.10%. A negative rate has never been made on such a large scale. Ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report for May, the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims increased 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000. It was above analysts’ expectations, but the four-week average fell to its lowest level since June 2007.

Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) are reportedly close to a merger. Sprint would buy T-Mobile for about $40 a share, valuing the company at around $32 billion. Sprint ended the day down 4.04%. T-Mobile closed down 2.30%.

Barnes & Noble (BKS) will collaborate with Samsung to create co-branded tablets. The moves is an effort by Barnes & Noble to revive its Nook e-reader business, which has struggled from competition from Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL). The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, with Nook software and Samsung hardware, is expected to be released in early August. It comes as Amazon (AMZN) announced a June 18th mystery event to unveil a mystery device. Barnes & Noble shares ended the day up 3.54%. Amazon shares were up 5.47%.

Shares of Vera Bradley (VRA) closed down 5.4% after the handbag reported quarterly earnings fell 29% and revenue declined nearly 8%. CEO Robert Wallstrom said the company isn’t attracting new customers. Vera Bradley cut its earnings outlook for the year as well.

Rite-Aid (RAD) shares closed down 7.4% after it projected first quarter earnings would fall below analysts expectations. The company said it expects earnings of $0.04 a share, that's below analysts’ expectations of $0.08 a share. The company also cut its profit forecast for the year. However, Rite-Aid reported same-store sales rose 3.1% for the quarter.

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