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Monday Morning Business Brief

August 20, 2012, 5:40 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

Stocks rose slightly on Friday after positive news from retailers like Gap and Ann Inc. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25 points to close at 13,275. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose almost three points to close at 1,418. And the Nasdaq rose 14 points to close at almost 3,077. For the week, the Dow was up 67 points. Futures trading suggests a slightly higher opening today.

  • International stock markets fluctuated in lackluster trading today as investors remained cautious ahead of a crucial week for Greek leaders as they try to show European partners that progress is being made in implementing reforms and austerity measures. Benchmark crude oil rose to hover above $96 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
  • A couple of reports on home sales are due out later this week. On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales for July. On Thursday, the Commerce Department releases new home sales for July. Also this week, the Commerce Department releases durable goods for July on Friday. Tomorrow, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its July interest-rate meeting.
  • Gas prices across the country continue to climb above year-ago prices, a trend that began last week after more than 100 days of holding below 2011 prices. Triple-A says the national average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.72. This price is 5 cents more than one week ago and 29 cents more than one month ago. It's also 14 cents more expensive to pump gas than last year at this time.
  • A top European Central Bank official says the negative consequences in the rest of Europe if Greece left the eurozone would be serious. The ECB executive board member says a Greek exit would be manageable, but also very costly, with higher unemployment across the continent. The German and Greek foreign ministers meet today.

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