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November 08, 2013 01:18 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

An unexpectedly strong employment report is giving stocks a lift. The gains are being led by banks, such as Bank of America and JPMorgan, which stand to benefit from a pickup in lending as the economy strengthens. Consumer-focused stocks such as and Disney also rose after reporting higher profits, and Gap soared after raising its earnings forecast.

  • Today's surprisingly strong jobs report has investors wondering what it means for the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program. Some economists say last month's hiring burst won't be enough to get the Federal Reserve to scale back its bond-buying stimulus program at its December meeting, while others say it might prod the Fed to slow the stimulus soon. The Labor Department said the economy added 204,000 jobs last month, and that far more jobs were created in August and September than previously estimated.
  • This year's corn crop is the largest the nation has ever seen. In its first report since the government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it expects 13.99 billion bushels of corn, up from the 13.8 billion bushels it had previously forecast. The previous record was 13.1 billion in 2009. Prices dropped below $4.20 a bushel today, the lowest since 2010. That means some farmers see lower profits, but chicken, pork, and beef producers will have lower feed costs.
  •  Coca-Cola says it plans to invest more than $4 billion in China over three years.  The company has been expanding in emerging markets such as Russia and China. It aims to reach $200 billion in revenue by 2020, in part by catering to the rising middle class in emerging markets.
  • A California financial analyst has pleaded guilty in New York to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud. Sandeep Aggarwal (AG'-ur-wahl) admitted he provided insider tips to an SAC Capital portfolio manager about a blockbuster deal between Microsoft and Yahoo. Investigators say the information pertained to a secret, pending search engine advertising partnership between the companies.
  • Business
  • Economy/Stocks