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July 26, 2010 07:50 AM

Morning Business Brief

  • Stocks ended last week higher for the second time in three weeks, with investors encouraged by most European banks passing a so-called "stress test." The Dow rose 102 points, the Nasdaq gained 23 and the S&P was up 9. For the week, the Dow added 326 points, the Nasdaq advanced 90 and the S&P tacked on 37.
  • Asian stock markets have posted moderate gains today. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.9 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.2 percent and markets in Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines also advanced. China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent. Markets in Singapore and Jakarta also were down. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.7 percent.
  • Oil prices hovered near US$79 a barrel today in Asia as regional stock markets extended a rally from last week amid improving investor optimism. Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 15 cents at $78.83 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 32 cents to settle at $78.98 on Friday.
  • BP's board plans to meet later today, one day before it announces earnings for the second quarter. Although the oil giant says it hasn't made any final decisions on management changes, British media reports that CEO Tony Hayward is on his way out. Hayward has angered Gulf Coast residents with public relations gaffes he's made since the massive oil spill.
  • New economic data should give more signals about the economic recovery this week. Among the reports due are June home sales and May home prices, consumer confidence and the second-quarter gross domestic product.
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