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June 14, 2013 01:30 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Tepid economic reports are helping to push stocks lower today as a turbulent week on Wall Street comes to an end. A Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey reporting that consumer sentiment fell in June. A measure of industrial production in the U.S. also fell short.

  • The International Monetary Fund says the U.S. economy is on sounder footing than it was a year ago but is still being restrained by government spending cuts and tax increases. The IMF says the tax hikes and spending cuts that kicked in this year will shave about 1.5 percentage points from growth. It forecasts growth of just 1.9 percent this year, below many private economists' expectations.
  •  The U.S. current account trade deficit widened from January through March as Americans earned less from overseas investments. The Commerce Department says the deficit increased 3.7 percent in the first quarter to $106.1 billion. That's up a revised $102.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. The current account is the broadest measure of trade.
  • A group of lawmakers wants the Veterans Affairs Department to offer credit monitoring to veterans and dependents in its computer records because of data theft. House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller says businesses routinely provide credit monitoring when data may be compromised, and it should be no different with the government. Witnesses at a hearing say VA networks have been compromised by foreign-sponsored hackers.
  • Microsoft's Office package is coming to the iPhone. It will offer the ability to read and edit text documents, spreadsheets and slide presentations at the doctor's office or at a soccer game. Microsoft says the app is meant for lightweight editing, not complex calculations or heavy graphical work. Office Mobile for iPhone is available free starting today, but an Office 365 subscription is required to use it.
  • Business
  • Economy/Stocks
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