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Friday Evening Business Brief

January 31, 2014, 7:16 PM

Friday Evening Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are ending sharply lower after disappointing results from online retailer Amazon.com and more trouble in overseas markets. The declines are capping a tough month for the market, which had its worst January in four years. The Dow fell nearly 150 points today to close at 15,698. The S&P 500 slipped 11 1/2 to 1,782. The Nasdaq dropped 19 points to 4,103.

  • The price of gasoline is lower thanks to January's wicked weather. Triple-A says the nationwide average for a gallon fell 4 cents this month to $3.28. Snow, ice and frigid air in much of the country kept drivers off the road, lowering fuel demand and suppressing prices. Meanwhile, benchmark crude oil for March delivery fell 74 cents to close at $97.49 a barrel today in New York.
     
  • A top Canadian official is urging the Obama administration to make a "timely decision" on the Keystone XL pipeline. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says he's now "more confident" the pipeline will be approved after the U.S. State Department raised no major environmental objections to it.
     
  • The lingering effects of drought across the Great Plains in recent years have led to another decrease in the cattle herd. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that the U.S. inventory of cattle and calves totaled 87.7 million animals as of Jan. 1. That was down about 2 percent, compared with this time last year. It's the lowest January inventory since 1951.
     
  • President Barack Obama says the government is exploring options for keeping the Internet free and open after a federal court set aside rules designed to do just that. In a chat on Google Plus Hangout today, Obama said it's an issue he cares deeply about, partly because his campaign was powered by an Internet that was free of commercial barriers.

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