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August 19, 2011 05:53 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Stock prices were slammed in Thursday trading. The Dow fell nearly 420 points, or about 3.7 percent. The Nasdaq got hit the worst, down 5.2 percent. The decline for the S&P was about 4 and a-half percent.
  • Downers today for world stocks. Asian markets declined, including a 3.1 percent loss for Hong Kong's Hang Seng and a 2.5 percent drop in the Nikkei. In early trading, European stocks also are down. And Wall Street futures are predicting a day of losses.
  • Oil prices fell to near $81 a barrel Friday in Asia, extending a sell-off fueled by investor fears that a slowing global economy will undermine demand for crude. Benchmark oil for September delivery was down $1.07 to $81.28 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude fell $5.20, or 5.9 percent, to finish at $82.38 on Thursday.
  • Some 3,500 Bank of America employees are expected to lose their jobs this quarter. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal report that total cuts could eventually exceed 10,000. The retrenchments are part of chief executive Brian Moynihan's efforts to engineer a recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble.
  • Parents will be dipping a little deeper into their wallets to pay for back-to-school clothes. Retailers are raising clothing prices an average of 10 percent across-the-board this fall to offset manufacturing costs. But analysts say they'll mask those hikes - such as using less material or charging more for embelishments.