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May 10, 2012 06:15 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief

A six-day losing streak is over for the Dow industrials. The index was able to gain 20 points today, with the help of some better numbers on new jobless claims. Stocks also benefited from news that Spain would take over the country's fourth-largest bank, which has high exposure to bad property loans. The S&P 500 gained 3 points, while the Nasdaq fell a point.

  • Hopes are rising slightly that Greece will be able to end its political deadlock without having to hold new elections. A socialist leader whose turn it is to try to form a government says a meeting with a left-wing leader was encouraging. If the efforts fail, and Greece has to vote against next month, that would delay the country's commitments to pass further austerity measures and reforms. And without those steps, creditors will cut off the rescue loan lifeline.
  • Gasoline prices are down 5 percent since peaking last month. The national average is down to about $3.74 a gallon, down nearly 20 cents from early April. Concerns about the economy have been pulling down oil prices. Analysts say oil should keep getting cheaper this summer if supplies grow as expected.
  • The price of U.S. natural gas is now at its highest level since February. The price has soared 30 percent since it hit a 10-year low last month. A warm winter had cut heating demand, and natural gas supplies were growing rapidly, so some major producers shut down some of their operations, leading prices to rise again.
  • It's the shortest company shareholder meeting on record for Ford. Executives at the automaker won rave reviews from stockholders today at the 45-minute meeting in Delaware for the company's turnaround. CEO Alan Mulally told shareholders that Ford is no longer in turnaround mode. It reported its third consecutive annual profit last year -- $20.2 billion.
  • Business
  • Economy/Stocks

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