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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

February 7, 2014, 1:56 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are sharply higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Investors are finding bright spots in the government's monthly employment report, including solid growth in construction and manufacturing jobs. The gains on top of yesterday's strong finish could give the market a slight gain for the week.

  • The U.S. government is getting a new borrowing cap, almost four months after Washington defused October's government shutdown and debt crisis. The new cap is expected to be about $17.2 trillion. Congress temporarily suspended the borrowing limit last October in the agreement to end the shutdown. It will be reset at the total amount of debt at close of business today. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will then have to employ bookkeeping maneuvers to keep the government functioning until Congress further raises the borrowing limit.
  • The Postal Service says it lost $354 million over the last three months. That's far less than the $1.3 billion it lost in the comparable quarter the previous fiscal year, but officials say mounting losses could lead to cash flow problems for the rest of the year. Revenue grew by $334 million, driven by a 14.6 percent growth in shipping and package services, but first-class mail declined 4.6 percent.
  • The Justice Department says it has closed an investigation of Samsung Electronics over alleged misuse of patents to exclude some Apple iPhone and iPad models from the U.S. market. Apple has said some Samsung wireless patents are being offered on unfair terms, hurting competition. Samsung obtained an exclusion order against Apple from the U.S. International Trade Commission that would have barred the import of some Apple smart phones and tablet computers. But the U.S. Trade Representative overturned the order, so the Justice Department is closing its investigation.
  • One of the nation's largest meatpackers has added wording to its labels on ground beef packages that indicates whether the meat inside includes a product that's been called "pink slime." Cargill says all of its U.S.-produced, fresh, 100 percent ground beef products that contain what it calls "finely textured beef" will say so on a label.

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