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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

May 2, 2014, 3:14 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks have turned lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street. They've been moving between modest gains and losses today as investors juggle mixed corporate earnings results and a government report showing a surprise surge in hiring last month. Traders are also watching escalating tensions in Ukraine.

  • President Barack Obama is hailing the April jobs growth but says Congress must still do more to help American workers, including raising the minimum wage and creating more construction jobs by approving public works projects. Obama spoke at a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl). The government reported Friday that employers added 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years, as the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent.
     
  • President Barack Obama says the United States and Germany are preparing to impose sanctions on Russia's economic sectors if destabilization continues in Ukraine. Obama says he hopes not to have to use such sanctions, but will if Russia's disruptions threaten Ukraine elections scheduled for May 25. So far, the U.S. has slapped sanctions on individuals but hasn't targeted entire economic sectors, such as Russia's energy sector.
     
  • The government is setting up emergency reserves of gasoline in the Northeast in case of future fuel disruptions like those caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The Energy Department says the two reserves totaling 1 million gallons of gasoline will be stored in leased commercial terminals around New York Harbor and Boston. Officials hope to have them in place by the end of summer. The $200 million project will be paid with proceeds from a sale of crude oil from the government's emergency reserves on the Gulf Coast.
     
  • It's a natural fit. Fruit of the Loom is launching its new boxer briefs for men with the help of Times Square favorite the Naked Cowboy. The New York City fixture reached fame by strumming his guitar clad in only his underwear, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He will help launch the new line with promotions beginning Tuesday. While he usually wears traditional white briefs, the marketing campaign will see him switch to Fruit of the Loom's new underwear, which have tapered legs to prevent them from riding up.

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