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Friday Morning Business Brief

April 25, 2014, 6:33 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Investors are hoping the stock market ends the week on a positive note. Stocks closed mostly higher yesterday. It was the seventh time in the last eight days that the S&P 500 has closed higher. The broad index rose three points to 1,878 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21 points to 4,148. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501, unchanged on the day. Futures point to a lower opening today.

  • International stock markets tumbled today after tensions over Ukraine mounted and Standard & Poor's cut Russia's credit rating, warning of capital flight and risks to investment due to the crisis. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell but remains above $101.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and was steady against the euro.
  • The financial stakes are getting higher for Russia as the Ukraine crisis continues. The Standard & Poor's credit agency cut Russia's credit rating today for the first time in more than five years. The ratings agency's main concerns are the flight of capital and the risk to investment in Russia since the Ukraine crisis blew up late last year. Credit ratings are important for the economy because they determine how expensive it will be for a country or company to borrow.
  • An international two-day conference on Internet governance is drawing to a close in Brazil as government officials, academics and technical experts from some 90 countries debate how the Internet should be run. The wide range of topics covered in the meeting's final document include the right to privacy; freedom of information; and cybersescurity and ways to prevent cyber crime.
  • A new private study finds that U.S. manufacturers have grown more competitive over the past decade compared with factories in China, Brazil and most of the world's other major economies. The Boston Consulting Group study also finds that rising wages and higher energy costs have diminished China's long-standing edge over the United States. So has a boom in U.S. shale gas production. The group's report today says only seven of 25 countries had lower manufacturing costs than the United States did this year.

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