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Friday Morning Business Brief

February 28, 2014, 5:41 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Investors are hoping the stock market will finish the week on a high note. The market reached an all-time high yesterday. The S&P 500 hit the new milestone after strong earnings from a number of companies. The index rose nine points to 1,854. It last closed at a record 1,848 on Jan. 15. The Dow climbed 74 points to 16,272. And the Nasdaq climbed 27 points to 4,318.

  • International stock markets are mostly higher today following on Wall Street's record high despite concern over turmoil in Ukraine. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $102 a barrel. The dollar edged down against the euro and fell against the yen.
  • There are two government economic reports scheduled for release today. The Commerce Department will report the fourth-quarter gross domestic product and the Labor Department will release state unemployment figures for January.  Also today, the National Association of Realtors will issue its pending home sales index for January.
  • Japan's finance minister says the apparent collapse of a major bitcoin exchange was entirely predictable, but that the demise of Mt. Gox happened sooner than he expected. The unplugging earlier this week of the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange and accusations it suffered a catastrophic theft have drawn renewed regulatory attention to the virtual currency. Finance Minister Taro Aso says "No one recognizes them as a real currency. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection today, acknowledging that a significant amount of the virtual currency had gone missing.
  • Official data show unemployment in the eurozone holding at a near record level. The European Union's statistics agency says the jobless rate for the 18-country eurozone was unchanged in January at 12 percent while inflation is stable. The unemployment rate has held steady since October.

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