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Friday Morning Business Brief

March 28, 2014, 5:37 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Investors are wondering if stocks will fall for a third straight day. Yesterday wasn't a very good day on Wall Street. U.S. stock indexes edged lower again as investors continued to retreat from technology stocks. The S&P 500 lost 3 ½ points to 1,849. The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 22 points to 4,151. The Dow Jones industrial average fell a modest 5 points to end at 16,264. Futures point to a positive opening.

  • Shares gained today as investors took heart on expectations China will move to counter its economic slowdown. Asian shares mostly gained and early European trading was upbeat. The dollar gained against the yen and was steady against the euro. Benchmark crude oil rose above $101.50.
  • Investors will not be getting much news from the government today. There is one report, however, that could be of interest. The Commerce Department will release personal income and spending for February. Also today, BlackBerry reports its quarterly results.
  • Japanese household spending fell 1.5 percent in February from a year earlier, suggesting consumers are tightening belts ahead of an April 1 hike in the country's sales tax. The government also reports today that core consumer prices rose 1.3 percent in February, though a large share of the increase was due to rising energy costs. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is striving to spur inflation to pull Japan out of a two-decade economic slump.
  • Cuban authorities are on the verge of enacting a new foreign investment law considered one of the most vital building blocks of President Raul Castro's effort to reform the country's struggling economy. It's currently difficult for foreign investors to gain inroads in Cuba. One report says the law will allow foreign participation in "all sectors" except health and education and won't be limited to joint partnerships with the government.

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