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Monday Morning Business Brief

December 30, 2013, 8:55 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief
  • With only two trading days left in 2013, the S&P 500 is up roughly 29 percent, the index's best year since 1997. And the Dow is up 25.8 percent, its best year since 1996. Investors are hoping the rally will continue in 2014. The surge did stall Friday. Stocks were mostly flat. The Dow closed down a point. The S&P fell less than a point and the Nasdaq dropped about 10 points. Futures point to slight gains at this morning's opening.
  • Pre-holiday trading is thin but shares advanced in Asia, while Europe was lower in early trading. Japan's Nikkei 225 index ended 2013 at its highest level in more than six years. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen. Benchmark crude oil rose and remained above $100 a barrel.
  • Before the closing bell sounds Tuesday afternoon ahead of the New Year's Day break, investors will receive some key data on the housing market. Today, the National Association of Realtors releases November's pending home sales index. On Tuesday, it's the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for October. Also on Tuesday, the Conference Board will release the Consumer Confidence Index for December.
  • Microsoft says if reports in a German magazine about U.S. spying are true, the company "would have significant concerns." Der Spiegel reports that American spies have intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware weaknesses and have even hijacked Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets. Der Spiegel has published a series of NSA stories based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
  • A new audit report says China's local government debt has soared 70 percent over the past three years and warns local leaders to take steps to control the rapid increase. The report follows warnings rising debt could endanger China's economic growth. Communist Party leaders have pledged to make getting debts under control an official priority.

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