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Friday Morning Business Brief

February 21, 2014, 5:34 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

The stock market is now close to erasing all of its losses after a volatile start to the year. The market got a boost yesterday from some encouraging news on the U.S. economy, including a solid uptick in manufacturing. The S&P 500 rose 11 points. The Dow gained 92 1/2 points and the Nasdaq climbed 29 1/2 points. Futures point to gains this morning.

  • International stock markets generally posted gains today and Japanese stocks jumped the central bank in Asia's second biggest economy signaled its lavish monetary stimulus could continue for longer than anticipated. Benchmark crude oil fell to just above $102.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and edged lower against the yen.
  • The market turmoil sparked by the Federal Reserve's steps toward removing the U.S. economy from life support is expected to be a top agenda item when finance chiefs from the world's biggest economies meet in Sydney this weekend. The Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting is a precursor to the main G-20 summit that will be held in the Australian city of Brisbane in November.
  • American agriculture has experienced a boom, with market values of crops, livestock and total agricultural products reaching record highs even as the amount of U.S. farmland declined. A new government survey says the number of U.S. farms dropped to 2.1 million in 2012, about a 4 percent drop from five years earlier. But some of the big farms got bigger. The average farm grew from 418 to 434 acres. The survey is taken every five years.

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