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August 20, 2010 07:16 AM

Morning Business Brief

  • Wall Street is hoping to bounce back from yesterday's tumble. Two disappointing economic reports renewed investors' concerns about the pace of the recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 144 points. All the major stock indexes fell more than 1 percent.
  • World markets were down today. Japan's Nikkei retreated 2 percent and South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.2 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index faded 1.1 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.7 percent. Early in Europe, Germany's DAX dropped 0.5 percent, France's CAC-40 was off 0.5 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent. Futures signaled slight gains on Wall Street with Dow futures ahead by 0.1 percent and broader S&P futures up 0.1 percent.
  • Oil prices wallowed below $75 a barrel Friday in Asia as a spate of weak figures on the U.S. economy added to expectations that demand for crude will weaken. Benchmark crude for October delivery edged up 9 cents to $74.52 a barrel at late afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 99 cents to settle at $74.43 on Thursday.
  • Tough financial times are forcing many Americans to dip into their retirement savings. A report by Fidelity Investments says a record number of workers made hardship withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the second quarter, and the number of workers borrowing from their accounts reached a 10-year high.
  • A published report says federal officials are ready to hit American Airlines with a record penalty of $25 million or more for maintenance shortcomings. The problems led to thousands of canceled flights in 2008. The Wall Street Journal reports the FAA hasn't made a final decision or informed American. The airline says no action is warranted.

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