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August 28, 2013 01:29 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Fears of a U.S.-led military strike against Syria sent most overseas stocks indexes lower today, but Wall Street has been moving higher. The Dow was up 70-80 points in afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also were making gains. The price of oil edged down from $112 a barrel overnight and was trading around $110.

  • The latest employment figures from the government show the improvement in the job market is widespread. The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in two-thirds of the nation's largest metro areas in July. The nationwide unemployment rate fell to a 4 ½-year low of 7.4 percent last month as employers added 162,000 jobs.
  • A plaintiffs' attorney says hundreds of black financial advisers have reached a $160 million settlement in a lawsuit accusing Wall Street brokerage giant Merrill Lynch of racial discrimination. Merrill Lynch says it's "not commenting on the existence" of a settlement, but attorney Suzanne Bish says it involved some 1,200 plaintiffs and represents one of the largest settlements ever in a racial discrimination case.
  • A federal judge has rejected BP's latest request to suspend settlement payments to Gulf Coast residents and businesses while an independent investigation is conducted of the program that compensates victims of the company's 2010 oil spill. The judge's order says an internal probe by the claims administrator's office didn't find credible evidence of fraud.
  • A research firm says Motorola's new Moto X phone doesn't cost more to make simply because it's assembled in Texas. The Moto X is the first smartphone to carry the "Made in the U.S.A." designation. Researchers at IHS say that overall cost for parts and labor for the Moto X is about 5 percent cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy S4, though it's 9 percent more expensive than Apple's iPhone 5.
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