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Friday Evening Business Brief

August 24, 2012, 5:28 PM

Friday Evening Business Brief

Stocks opened lower today but reversed course after a letter surfaced from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggesting there was room for the central bank to do more to help the economy. The Dow industrials gained 100 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 13,158. The Nasdaq rose 16 points, or 0.5 percent, and the S-and-P 500 was up 9 points for a 0.7 percent gain. All three indexes posted small losses for the week.

  •  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has made clear in a letter to a House lawmaker that he thinks the Fed can do more to bolster the economic recovery and help reduce unemployment. Bernanke also defends steps the Fed has already taken.
  • Oil companies are evacuating some Gulf of Mexico oil rigs in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac. For now the storm is close to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. But oil installations would be at risk if it heads to the Gulf of Mexico and reaches hurricane strength.
  • The price of oil fell today after a trade journal reported that Western countries might release more oil reserves. Benchmark crude traded in New York fell 12 cents to finish at $96.15. Brent crude traded in London fell, too, down 28 cents to $113.31. Brent crude is used to price international varieties of oil.
  • Bond investors appeared unwilling to be thrown around by conflicting signals from the Federal Reserve over whether the central bank will act soon to help spur the U.S. economic recovery. Treasury prices barely budged today, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury virtually unchanged at 1.68 percent. Its price was down 3 cents for every $100 invested.

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