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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

July 18, 2014, 2:45 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

U.S. financial markets are recovering from yesterday's slump. Stocks are sharply higher in afternoon trading as investors welcome the latest financial results from large U.S. companies. Stocks that are gaining include Google, which reported higher quarterly earnings and revenue after the close yesterday.

  • The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 22 states last month and stayed the same in 14, as the nation at large posted a fifth straight month of solid hiring. Unemployment rates rose in 14 states. Meanwhile, employers added jobs in 33 states and cut back in 17. The biggest drop in the unemployment rate occurred in Illinois, where it fell to 7.1 percent from 7.5 percent.
  • Union officials say Walt Disney World has reached a tentative labor agreement with its largest union group. The agreement would raise starting hourly pay from a little over $8 to $9 this year, $9.50 next year and $10 in 2016. The contract covers 21,000 full-time workers at the Florida-based theme park resort. Union members will vote on the proposed contract Aug. 1.
  • Amazon is rolling out a new subscription service that will allow unlimited access to thousands of electronic books and audiobooks for $9.99 a month in the online giant's latest effort to expand its services to attract more users. The company says the Kindle Unlimited service will give users the ability to read as much as they want from more than 600,000 Kindle titles. Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial.
  • Comcast Cable has reached a deal with ESPN to carry the SEC Network. The network, which launches on Aug. 14, was already set to be carried on cable and satellite providers like DISH Network, Cox Communications and AT&T U-Verse.  The addition of the nation's largest cable provider means the SEC Network will be available in at least 46 million households nationally. The SEC Network will carry at least 45 football games this season.

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