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January 14, 2015 06:40 PM

Wednesday Evening Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - A dismal report on retail spending in the U.S. and signs of slowing global growth are driving stocks lower. . The Dow Jones industrial average lost 186 points, or 1.1 percent today, closing at 17,427. The S&P 500 index fell 11 points, 0.6 percent, to 2,011 and the Nasdaq composite fell 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,639.

  • The price of oil is surging on a weaker dollar and traders' expectations that oil has fallen too far recently. The gain comes despite a large increase in U.S. oil stockpiles. Benchmark U.S. crude climbed $2.59 to close at $48.48 a barrel in New York today. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, gained $2.10 to close at $48.69 in London.
  • The New York Times says Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is now the largest holder of its publicly traded shares. But the Sulzberger family maintains control of the company through a trust that owns 90 percent of its Class B stock, which isn't publicly traded, and 3.8 percent of Class A shares. Holders of Class B stock can elect 70 percent of the company's board.
  • There's a report that Samsung is considering a possible takeover of BlackBerry Ltd. The Reuters report, citing unnamed sources, says that executives met last week to discuss a potential deal. South Korea-based Samsung reportedly offered to buy BlackBerry for as much as $7.5 billion. Samsung declines to comment. Messages left with BlackBerry have not yet been returned.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is bringing his global Internet-access initiative to Latin America In an event today with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the billionaire explained how even low-end mobile phone users in Colombia will now be able to access for free a limited number of websites thanks to a partnership with a local cellular phone provider.
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