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Top 4 Business Stories of the Day

Kia Motors is out to change its image among Americans as a low-priced value brand with the recently launched $66,000 luxury K900 sedan, but analysts said it should expect an uphill climb. The automaker with the same corporate parent as Hyundai Motor Co , has been asking U.S. consumers to "challenge the luxury you know" since its February Super Bowl ad featuring Laurence Fishburne who reprised his role in the futuristic "The Matrix" movie trilogy. A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected a request to acquit Michael Steinberg, a day before the scheduled sentencing on an insider trading conviction for the former portfolio manager at Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan rejected various arguments by Steinberg's lawyers, including that a jury could not have rationally found he knew corporate insiders were receiving benefits to provide illegal tips. Sullivan wrote,"On the facts presented at trial, a rational jury could find that he knew or was willfully blind to the fact that the tippers breached duties of trust and confidence by disclosing material nonpublic information for their personal benefits." Cloud helpdesk software provider Zendesk popped 40% on its first day of trading after its initial public offering on Thursday. The IPO raised just under $100 million, about $50 million less than what Zendesk initially planned. The $9 price was in the middle of its most recent $8-10 range. The stock opened at about $11.25 on Thursday morning and has been up since. The French government gave itself the power to block foreign corporate takeovers in "strategic" sectors on Thursday, throwing up a potential roadblock to General Electric's $16.9 billion bid for Alstom's energy assets. The decree swiftly drew a warning against "protectionism" from the EU official in charge of competition, and was called a "bad idea" by French employers' group MEDEF. General Electric said it would pursue its talks for a deal with Alstom, but some analysts suggested rival suitor Siemens would now be encouraged.

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