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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

August 15, 2014, 1:56 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks were headed higher this morning, but reports of renewed fighting in Ukraine have sent the main indexes down sharply in afternoon trading. The Dow has fallen as much as 125 points from yesterday's close, while the broader indexes have seen similar drops. John Canally at LPL Financial notes that the dispute between Russia and Ukraine has followed a pattern of worrying headlines followed by soothing speeches. But he adds, any trader "who doesn't want to lose their job over the weekend sells first and asks questions later."

  • Shares of Monster Beverage have soared following news that Coca-Cola plans to pay $2 billion for a stake in the maker of caffeinated drinks. The deal comes as Coca-Cola's flagship soda business is flagging and "energy drinks" have become popular. Monster shares are up close to 30 percent this afternoon.
  • The Treasury Department reports foreign buyers of U.S. securities increased their holdings 0.6 percent in June, topping $6 trillion for the first time. The increase came despite the fact that the two biggest foreign owners, China and Japan, reduced their holdings. Belgium, Brazil and Taiwan were among the countries buying more.
  • SeaWorld is planning to build new, larger environments for killer whales at its theme parks. It's also pledging to fund additional research on the animals along with programs to protect ocean health and whales in the wild. SeaWorld's business has been hurt by negative publicity surrounding its killer whales, including a documentary that suggested that captivity and SeaWorld's treatment of the whales provokes violent behavior.
  • Drug makers and academic laboratories are going beyond standard techniques in the push to develop a treatment for the Ebola virus that's killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa. Researchers working on the experimental drug ZMapp have been using tobacco plants to produce proteins designed to deactivate the virus and kill cells infected with Ebola. Scientists are also using plants to develop medicines and vaccines against HIV, cancer, norovirus and the deadly Marburg virus, which is related to Ebola.

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