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August 19, 2010 08:08 AM

Morning Business Brief

  • Stocks moved higher for the second day in a row partly because of some encouraging retail earnings reports. The Dow industrials gained almost 10 points to 10,415. The S&P 500 rose 1.62 to 1,094, while the Nasdaq gained more than 6 points to 2,215.
  • World markets were mixed today. Japan's Nikkei gained 1.3 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 percent. In Europe, France's CAC-40 was down 0.4 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 slid 0.9 percent and Germany's DAX lost 0.4 percent. Futures pointed to slight gains on Wall Street with Dow futures up 0.1 percent.
  • Oil prices hovered above $75 a barrel today in Asia amid investor concerns U.S. economic growth will slow in the second half and stymie demand for crude. Benchmark crude for September delivery rose 10 cents to $75.54 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 35 cents to settle at $75.42 on Wednesday.
  • Several closely watched economic reports come out this morning. The Labor Department reports on weekly jobless claims, the Conference Board releases its leading economic index, and Freddie Mac unveils its weekly survey on the primary mortgage market.
  • General Motors has filed the first batch of paperwork needed to sell stock to the public. GM filed the paperwork for its initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Wednesday. The company says the U.S. government and other stakeholders will sell common shares worth roughly $100 million and GM will sell preferred shares worth about $100 million. GM got a $50 billion government bailout last year to stay in business. In exchange, U.S. taxpayers now own 61 percent of the company.

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