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Friday Morning Business Brief

May 30, 2014, 5:46 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Investors still can't decide how much money to put into the stock market despite encouraging signs. One analyst says the number of recent corporate deals shows that companies see the U.S. economy improving. Stocks rose modestly yesterday. The S&P 500 index rose 10 points to a record 1,920. The Dow climbed 65 ½ points and the Nasdaq rose 23 points. Futures point to a flat opening.

  • International stock markets were mostly weaker today after a government report showed the U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter. Much of the blame is placed on a brutal winter. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell but remained above $103 a barrel. The dollar fell against the yen and the euro.
  • The government will report on personal income and spending for April today. In March, consumers increased their spending at the fastest pace in 4½ years, a sign the economy was gaining momentum. Also today, the University of Michigan will issue its index of consumer sentiment for May.
  • An individual with knowledge of negotiations to sell the Los Angeles Clippers says Shelly Sterling has reached an agreement to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The deal now must be presented to the NBA.  Donald Sterling must also approve the final agreement as a 50 percent owner. His attorneys say that won't happen.
  • China has fined Johnson & Johnson, Nikon Corp. and five other makers of eyeglasses and contact lenses on price-fixing charges in its latest effort to use anti-monopoly law to control consumer prices. Manufacturers were fined a total of 19 million yuan ($3.1 million) for setting minimum prices for retailers and limiting their ability to offer discounts. The Cabinet's planning agency says other companies fined included Essilor International SA of France, Germany's Car Zeiss AG, Hoya Corp. and Bausch + Lomb, owned by Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. One Chinese company was fined, Shanghai Weicon Optics Co.

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