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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

October 28, 2011, 1:19 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief
Stocks have been little changed today. The Dow surged 339 points yesterday, its biggest gain since Aug. 11. The Dow is headed for its biggest monthly gain since 1987.
  • Consumer spending rose 0.6 percent last month, much better than the previous month. Consumers earned only 0.1 percent last month. And after adjusting for inflation, their after-tax incomes fell 0.1 percent last month - the third straight monthly decline.
  • Radio station owner Clear Channel Communications says it dismissed some on-air and off-air staff earlier this week. The move is part of a reshaping of its regional and local programming that should enable it to seek out advertisers focused on areas wider than a single market. 
  • As the run-up to holiday shopping intensifies, retailer Target says its stores will open at midnight on Thanksgiving Day for the first time this year. That's four hours earlier than last year.
  • Drugmaker Merck says its third-quarter profit soared from a year ago - a weak quarter weighed down by huge acquisition and legal charges. But compared to the second quarter, prescription drug sales were flat and total revenue was down 1 percent.

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