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October 05, 2013 05:16 PM

Saturday Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Wall Street is betting that Washington's gridlock is easing. Stocks posted modest gains yesterday, driven by budding optimism among traders that bickering politicians will soon reach an agreement on the budget and on increasing the debt ceiling. The Dow closed up 76 points on Friday. The S&P 500 rose 12 and the Nasdaq composite gained 33 points.

  • Stormy weather in the Gulf of Mexico and political gridlock in Washington are behind yesterday's rise in the price of oil. Benchmark crude for November delivery climbed 53 cents to close at $103.84 in New York. Despite the oil price rise, drivers are still getting some relief at the pump. The average price for a gallon of gas is now $3.37. That's down 22 cents from a month ago.
  • President Barack Obama says he doesn't expect Congress to breach the deadline to increase the nation's borrowing limit. Obama tells The Associated Press that he's willing to negotiate changes to his signature health care law and to find ways to reduce spending, but not until after Congress reopens the government and passes a new debt ceiling. The government is expected to hits its $16.7 trillion debt limit in mid-October.
  • Lockheed Martin says it'll furlough 3,000 employees on Monday due to the government shutdown. The defense contractor says the number put on furlough will increase weekly if the shutdown continues. United Technologies announced earlier in the week that it'll furlough 2,000 employees by Monday and more than 5,000 if the shutdown continues into next month.
  • The U.S. Forest Service is confirming that it's shutting down logging operations on national forests across the country due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. The agency plans to notify 450 timber purchasers across the country early next week that timber sales and stewardship contracts will be suspended.
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