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October 07, 2013 01:28 PM

Monday Afternoon Business Brief

Worries about the budget impasse in Washington and the approaching deadline for raising the nation's debt limit have pushed stocks lower today. The Dow was down about 80 points in afternoon trading, while the broader indexes are seeing similar losses.

  • Officials say Senate Democrats plan to introduce legislation by the middle of the week that would raise the nation's debt limit without the type of unrelated conditions Republicans have said they want to add. The emerging measure is likely to allow President Barack Obama to raise the borrowing limit on his own authority, although it could be blocked if both houses vote to do so.
  • The Supreme Court is considering shutting down class-action lawsuits from investors who lost billions in former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford's massive Ponzi scheme. Justices listened to lawyers argue over whether lawsuit should proceed against individuals, law firms and investment companies that allegedly aided Stanford's fraud. He was sent to prison after being convicted of what prosecutors describe as a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme on investors. A Supreme Court ruling is expected next year.
  • The focus of a trial over BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has shifted to how much crude gushed from BP's blown-out well. Lawyers for BP and the federal government are presenting conflicting scientific theories to explain their different estimates. Government experts estimate 4.2 million barrels spilled into the Gulf, while BP says it was less than 2.5 million barrels. The size of the spill will be used in calculating any Clean Water Act penalties.
  • After six years of recession, Greece expects its economy to grow next year. The finance ministry projects Greece's economy will expand 0.6 percent, compared with a 4 percent contraction this year. Greece's economy has shrunk by about a quarter since 2008, when it was hurt by the global financial crisis.
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  • Economy/Stocks