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January 05, 2015 01:20 PM

Monday Afternoon Business Brief

Falling oil prices have again been dragging down stocks today. The Dow has been more than 300 points lower in afternoon trading. Energy stocks led declines in the S&P 500, dropping 4.2 percent

  • NEW YORK (AP) - The price of oil briefly dipped below $50 a barrel for the first time in more than five years today as evidence mounted that the world will be oversupplied with oil this year. U.S. oil dipped to $49.95 before quickly inching back over $50. Around noon it was trading at $50.29 a barrel. In June of last year it traded for $107 a barrel. Oil has been falling for several months because global supplies are rising, especially in the U.S., at a time when weakness in the global economy is slowing the growth in oil demand.
     
  • NEW YORK (AP) - Morgan Stanley says an employee in its wealth management business stole data from about 900 clients and posted it on the Internet. The investment bank says the employee shared client names and account numbers, but not passwords or Social Security numbers. Morgan Stanley says it detected the exposure and that the information was taken down. The company says it fired the employee and is working with regulators and law enforcement.
     
  • DETROIT (AP) - Thanks to a resurgent economy, holiday sales, cheap gasoline and a love affair with pickup trucks, Americans headed to car dealers in droves last month, pushing full-year sales to what's likely to be the highest level since 2006. Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Honda and General Motors all report strong December and annual U.S. sales, with Nissan and Honda hitting record numbers for the year. Ford faltered but remained the top-selling brand in the U.S. last year.
     
  • HAVANA (AP) - New figures show U.S. exports to Cuba likely hit one of their lowest points in a decade last year. It's an indication of the barriers to increased trade despite President Barack Obama's move to expand ties. The statistics show that U.S. farmers sold slightly more than $253 million worth of food and agricultural products to Cuba in the first 10 months of 2014. American farmers say the main barrier to sales to Cuba is a U.S. government ban on providing credit to the island. That wouldn't change under Obama's reforms.
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