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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

August 29, 2014, 1:57 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stocks are mixed in light Wall Street trading ahead of the Labor Day weekend, with the Dow slightly lower and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq slightly higher. Investors are looking at reports that gave a mixed picture of the U.S. economy along with some better-than-expected company earnings and continuing jitters about developments overseas.
  • Consumers are feeling a bit better about things like jobs and incomes. The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 82.5 this month from 81.8 in July. Still, it has barely risen in the past year. The August level is only slightly higher than it was a year ago, and the improved sentiment was largely seen in higher-income groups.
  • U.S. investors should soon be able to buy stock in Chrysler for the first time in seven years. Chrysler is merging with Italy's Fiat to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Fiat said today that an ongoing tally of investors suggests there is not enough opposition to derail the deal. Fiat shareholders have approved combining the companies. But Italian law gives dissenters the right to cash out. The combined company would move its tax headquarters to London and list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • An experimental Ebola drug is boosting hopes of fighting the outbreak that is raging through West Africa. According to a study published online today by the journal Nature, the drug ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego, healed all 18 monkeys that were infected with the deadly virus. Scientists administered the drug three to five days after infecting the monkeys in the lab. Most were showing symptoms by then, and all of them completely recovered. The three infected monkeys that weren't given the drug died.
  • The second summer after Superstorm Sandy has been better than the first one for the New Jersey shore. Merchants and elected officials credit good weather and greater awareness that the area has made huge strides in recovering from the devastating October 2012 storm. Some business owners report profits up 20 to 30 percent this summer compared with last year's, when the shore was still in the early stages of recovering.

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