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Friday Morning Business Brief

March 7, 2014, 5:37 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Investors are hoping the stock market continues to rally today. Stocks mostly rose yesterday after a report that the number of jobless claims fell last week to the lowest level in three months. The S&P 500 index edged up three points to 1,877, its third all-time high this week. The Dow closed up 62 points to 16,421. But the Nasdaq fell six points to 4,352. Futures have been little changed, point to an uninspired opening this morning.

  • International stock markets were muted today as investors turned cautious ahead of the release of a key U.S. employment report and Chinese economic indicators. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $102 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and weakened against the yen.
  • There's more news on the jobs front today. The Labor Department' will release February's employment data this morning. Also, the Commerce Department will report international trade numbers. In the afternoon, the Federal Reserve will release January's consumer credit data.
  • After a couple months of winter doldrums, economists are predicting an upturn in employment data for February. Economists surveyed by FactSet say they believe February saw the creation of 145,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.6 percent. a0443
  • Safeway says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner of Albertsons and several other supermarket chains. The acquisition is worth about $7.64 billion in cash, and pending other transactions could top more than $9 billion.  It comes amid ongoing consolidation in the supermarket industry.

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