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January 16, 2015 05:53 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

SEOUL, South Korea

International stock markets were lower today after a surprise move by the Swiss National Bank to abandon its efforts to keep its currency artificially cheap shocked the market. Futures point to more opening losses on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose to near $47 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.

  • WASHINGTON (AP) - There is one major economic report from the government today. The Labor Department will release the Consumer Price Index for December. Also today, the Federal Reserve will report on last month's industrial production. And before the market opens, Goldman Sachs will release its quarterly financial results.
  • BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union's executive says the tax deal Amazon signed with Luxembourg may be illegal. The EU opened an investigation into Amazon in October and on Friday gave a preliminary assessment of its concerns with the technology company's dealings. Among other actions, Amazon registers its profits from across the EU at its unit in Luxembourg. The results are that Amazon pays little tax in many EU countries where it operates and its effective tax rate in Luxembourg is low.
  • MILAN (AP) - Europe's automakers' association ACEA has confirmed that the industry's six-year decline ended last year, reporting a 5.7-percent increase in car sales in 2014 to 12.5 million vehicles. That was the continent's first positive full-year result since 2007, with December marking the 16th straight month of growth. Despite the upbeat performance reported today Friday, carmakers were cautious heading into 2015 amid new economic uncertainty.
  • SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Venture capitalists poured a whopping $48.3 billion into U.S. startup companies last year, investing at levels that haven't been seen since the heady days before the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. A new report issued today finds that software and biotechnology companies were the leading recipients of venture funding in 2014, which rose more than 60 percent from the previous year.
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