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May 15, 2013 01:16 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are continuing their climb, despite a handful of disappointing economic reports. They've bounced back after a slow start following news of slowing manufacturing in the U.S. and a widespread slowdown in Europe. The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 index both closed at all-time highs yesterday.

  • The eurozone is now in its longest recession ever. The European Union statistics office says nine of the 17 EU countries that use the euro are in recession, with France just added to the list. Overall, the eurozone's economy contracted for the sixth straight quarter, slumping by 0.2 percent in the January-March period from the previous three months. Unemployment across the eurozone is at a record 12.1 percent. In Greece, the figure is even higher at 27.2 percent.
  • Foreign demand for U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level in March even though China, the largest foreign holder of Treasury debt, reduced its holdings slightly. The Treasury Department says total foreign holdings of Treasury securities increased 0.7 percent in March compared with February to a record $5.76 trillion. That's an increase of 11.9 percent over a year ago.
  • The popularity of smartphones is growing not only with consumers, but with thieves. Experts say many consumers don't realize just how vulnerable their Androids, iPhones and other devices can be. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta says smartphones are an easy target because many lack security protections like passwords normally found on home computers, and vast amounts of personal data are stored in emails, texts and other applications. Personal information is also easily found on social media.
  • Google is unveiling a streaming music service called All Access that blends songs users have already uploaded to their online libraries with millions of other tracks for a $10 monthly fee. The service puts Google in competition with popular paid subscription plans like Spotify and Rhapsody and free music services like Pandora. All Access comes with a 30-day free trial.  If you start the trial by June 30, the monthly fee will drop to $8.
  • Business
  • Economy/Stocks

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