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September 14, 2011 05:43 AM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Wall Street has chalked up two straight session gains. In Tuesday trading, the Dow was up 45 points to 11,106. The S&P gained nearly 11 points or 0.9 percent. The Nasdaq was up 37 points.
  • Asian stock markets fell Wednesday despite gains on Wall Street and in Europe the day before as simmering worries over Europe's debt crisis cast a pall over trading. Japan's Nikkei 225 index, Asia's largest stock market, extended earlier losses to fall 1.1 percent to 8,524.12, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 1.3 percent to 18,775.39.
  • Oil prices fell to below $90 a barrel in Asia Wednesday after a U.S. crude supply report showed mixed signs about consumer demand. Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 54 cents to $89.67 at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude added $2.02 to settle at $90.21 on Tuesday.
  • There's no shortage of economic data due out today. Among the reports, the Commerce Department releases August retail sales.
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, is launching measures today that it says will help out women around the world in the next five years. The retailer says it will spend $20 billion over that period on goods and services from U.S. businesses owned by women. It also plans to double the amount it pays women-run suppliers overseas, though it didn't give a total.