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Friday Evening Business Brief

February 7, 2014, 8:14 PM

Friday Evening Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - The stock market is ending the week with a modest gain. Increases yesterday and today were enough to erase a steep loss from Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 165 1/2 points, or 1.1 percent today, to 15,794. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 23 ½ points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,797. The Nasdaq composite increased nearly 69 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,125.

  • Rising demand for fuel and some positive sentiment about the U.S. job market are lifting the price of oil.  Benchmark crude for March delivery gained $2.04, or 2.1 percent, to close at $99.88 a barrel today in New York. Oil climbed to $100.21 in the afternoon before dropping back.  At the gas pump today, the average price for a gallon of regular is holding steady at $3.27.
  • The federal government is getting a new borrowing cap. It's expected to be about $17.2 trillion. It means Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will have to employ bookkeeping maneuvers to keep the government functioning until Congress further raises the borrowing limit. Lew is warning lawmakers that he has less maneuvering room now than he had last year.
  • Coal sales in western states are under increased scrutiny from lawmakers, after new revelations of problems including reserves of the fuel sold at prices below market value. A letter from the Department of Interior's Inspector General shows federal officials in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico accepted below-market bids for coal or sold it without full appraisals. Inspectors say that violates federal rules on competition.
  • Duke Energy says it's diverting the flow of coal ash from reaching a North Carolina river, but the company cannot yet declare the massive spill fully contained. The power provider says up to 82,000 tons of coal ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water have escaped since a drainage pipe running under a 27-acre waste pond collapsed Sunday, turning the Dan River gray for miles.

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