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July 23, 2010 07:27 AM

Morning Business Brief

  • Fresh off the biggest stock rally in two weeks, investors are hoping their luck holds out today. The Dow was up 201 points yesterday on the strength of positive earnings reports from UPS, Caterpillar and other companies. Ford, McDonald's and Verizon Communications are among those who will release their earnings and outlooks today.
  • World stock markets were up Friday. Nearly all Asian stock markets advanced and Europe also was in an upbeat mood . Japan's Nikkei jumped 2.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent. Germany's DAX added 0.6 percent and France's CAC-40 rose 0.5 percent. Wall Street was set for a higher opening, with Dow futures up 0.5 percent.
  • Oil prices held above $79 a barrel Friday in Asia. Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 1 cent at $79.29 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $2.74 on Thursday to settle at $79.30, a 10-week high, as stock markets jumped on better-than-expected second quarter corporate earnings.
  • Federal unemployment checks for Americans out of work at least six months should begin flowing again starting next week now that President Barack Obama has signed a restoration of benefits into law. Officials say unemployment checks for people in Pennsylvania and New York should start going out the, but it could take a few weeks for people in Nevada and North Carolina.
  • Community banks may soon be able tap a $30 billion government fund to help them increase lending to small businesses. A measure creating the fund overcame a Republican filibuster in the Senate Thursday evening. Democrats say banks should be able to use the money to leverage up to $300 billion in loans to small businesses, helping to loosen tight credit markets.