Stocks are extending their losses for the month of August on this, the last trading day of the month. The market is still plagued by uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve will start scaling back its support for the economy in September. And now there are new worries about a possible U.S. military strike on Syria.
- Americans are expressing less optimism about the coming months. And that has brought down a measure of U.S. consumer confidence. The University of Michigan's reading on consumer sentiment was at a six-year high in July -- but the university says it has slipped back this month. Even with the decline, the index is nearly 8 points higher than a year ago.
- Gold is having a summer revival. The price of gold touched $1,420 an ounce this week, a three-and-a-half month high, as escalating tensions in the Middle East, volatile currency markets and renewed demand for jewelry in China and India pushed prices higher. Gold has surged 15 percent since sinking to $1,212 an ounce, its lowest level in almost three years, on June 27. A gain of 20 percent or more would put the metal back in a bull market.
- A federal judge says a trial over the government's lawsuit to block the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways will start Nov. 25, a timetable favored by the airlines. The U.S. Justice Department wanted the trial to start in March, saying it needs more time to prepare for the complex case. The airlines say a long delay would threaten their merger.
- Excited about the new iPhone expected to be unveiled Sept. 10? Apple will now join others in allowing you to trade in your old model. The company said that starting today, it will give customers credit for functioning older models at Apple Stores. The credit can be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone, which will be activated in the store. It didn't say how much older phones would be worth. But other brokers such as Gazelle.com offer anywhere from $10 for a working iPhone 3G to $350 for an iPhone 5 that is in pristine condition.