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Friday Morning Business Brief

July 18, 2014, 6:48 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

The downing of a Malaysian jetliner in Ukraine is raising concerns on Wall Street of wider geopolitical instability and an increase of tensions between Russia and the West. All three major stock indexes ended lower for the first time in a week yesterday. The S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent, The Dow slid 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq sank 1.4 percent. Futures point to a rebound.

  • International stock markets fell today, unnerved by a ratcheting up of global political tensions after a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine and Israel launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $103.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.
  • There are no government economic reports scheduled for release today.  But the Conference Board will issue its report on the leading economic indicators for June. Also, General Electric will release its quarterly financial results before the market opens.
  • The companies responsible for the popular 5-Hour Energy drink are being sued over claims made for the product. Attorneys general from Oregon and Washington State have already gone to court. Other states are expected to follow. The Oregon lawsuit filed yesterday contends 5-Hour Energy falsely claims customers a unique blend of ingredients, when the boost actually comes from a concentrated dose of caffeine. The suit also disputes claims that users don't experience a crash later.
  • The growing number of states legalizing small amounts of marijuana for medicinal and even recreational use is fueling the growth of a potentially money-making cottage industry based on edibles and other delivery methods. Edibles and infused products such as snack bars, olive oils and tinctures are popular with medical marijuana users and others who don't like to inhale or smell the smoke.

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