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Friday Morning Business Brief

June 20, 2014, 5:58 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

All three key stock indexes are up for the year. Yesterday, the S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high for the second time in two days and recorded its fifth gain in five days. The S&P 500 rose 2 ½ points to 1,959 and the Dow Jones industrial average added 15 points to 16,921. But the Nasdaq composite slipped 3 ½ points to 4,359. Futures point to a flat opening.

  • International stock markets struggled today as the euphoria faded from the Fed's promises of prolonged low rates to boost growth. Markets were subdued in lackluster trading. Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped below $106 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.
  • The fight against the secretive National Security Agency collecting massive amounts of data picked up a surprise win in the House. Libertarians and liberals combined to push through new curbs on government spying as an amendment to a $570 billion defense spending bill. The provision faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. It would bar warrantless collection of personal online information and prohibit access for the NSA and CIA into commercial tech products.
  • The New York state Senate is expected to give final approval later today to a measure legalizing medical marijuana, under strict guidelines. The state Assembly passed the legislation 113-13. The so-called Compassionate Care Act would legalize certain forms of marijuana for severely ill patients. The legislation does not allow the drug to be sold in plant form or smoked.
  • Kraft is recalling its Velveeta cheese product from Walmart stores in as many as 12 states, mostly in the Midwest, because the cheese product lacks the proper amount of preservatives. The company says insufficient levels of sorbic acid has led to the recall of 260 cases of Velveeta original pasteurized recipe cheese product because it could cause the cheese product to spoil prematurely or cause food-borne illnesses.

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