The Fed Trims Bond-Buying Again and 2 Companies See Big Developments

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had bounced back 44 points in midafternoon trading after the Federal Open Market Committee formally trimmed its bond-buying program by $10 billion per month for the fifth-consecutive meeting. The Fed's bond-buying activity is now at $35 billion per month, which keeps it on pace to end later this year. For long-term investors this is a mostly positive sign that suggests a strengthening economy. With that in mind, here are two companies making big headlines in the markets today.

Inside the Dow, General Electric is preparing to sweeten its offer to acquire the energy assets of French conglomerate Alstom, according to The Wall Street Journal. General Electric has repeatedly said it would not enter into a bidding war for Alstom's energy business. But with a counteroffer now on the table from a partnership of Siemens, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi, it will have to resort to other measures to lock up the deal.

As reported by the Journal, General Electric is considering the sale of its train-signaling business to Alstom to improve the overall $17 billion offer. It would be the latest in a series of concessions and pledges General Electric has offered in negotiations.

General Electric executives plan to meet with the French government and unions Thursday; the company is expected to have the improved offer ready. Meanwhile, an independent committee will review the proposals from both sides and offer its suggestion before the Alstom board meets and declares its preference by Monday. For an in-depth breakdown of the development, you can read the details here.

Bans on Tesla selling its vehicles directly to consumers won't stop the company. Source: Tesla Motors.

Outside the Dow, Tesla Motors has had a heck of a busy week. One headline involves an approved bill in the New Jersey General Assembly that would allow consumers to buy electric cars directly from a manufacturer. The result came with a clear and favorable vote of 77-0, with one abstention. However, the story is far from complete and the bill's fate now rests with the state Senate.

In other news, surrounding Tesla's battle to maintain its direct-to-consumer sales model, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed previously approved legislation that enables Tesla to continue selling at its five company-owned stores in the state.

"New York's franchised auto dealers and manufacturers as well as innovative companies like Tesla are critical to our state's economy, and this bill ensures that both sides will thrive to be able to grow the market for cutting edge zero emission vehicles," Cuomo said in a statement, according to Automotive News.

Currently, Tesla's battle for states' approval of its direct-to-consumer sales model isn't much of an issue. Tesla's Model S has few rival products, and consumers who want a Model S, even in a state with a sales ban on Tesla, will find a way to get one. The full implications of Tesla's dealership model will come years down the road as the company tries to sell its electric vehicles to the mainstream consumer -- that's when some states banning Tesla's direct-to-consumer sales could undermine the young electric-vehicle maker's growth potential. 

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