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Monday Morning Business Brief

January 6, 2014, 5:48 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

The stock market is starting out 2014 on a bit of a sour note. The S&P 500 index edged a fraction of a point lower to 1,831 on Friday, beginning a year with a two-day losing streak for the first time since 2005. The Nasdaq composite also fell. It was down 11 points to 4,131. But the Dow Jones industrial average managed to gain 29 points, closing at 16,469. Futures point to a weak start today.

  • International stock markets were mostly lower today, opening the week on a cautious note ahead of the release of data from the U.S. and China that will reflect the pace of growth in the world's top two economies. Benchmark crude oil rose above $94 a barrel.
  • Two reports scheduled for release today may be of some interest to traders although they aren't likely to have a great deal of impact on the market: The Institute for Supply Management's service sector index for December; and the November factory order report from the Commerce Department  Tomorrow, the government will releases international trade data for November.
  • The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that global spending on technology will slip 1 percent this year to $1.06 trillion as the lower average selling price of smartphones and tablets offsets unit growth in markets like China. Steve Koenig, the association's director of industry analysis, issued the forecast at the opening of the annual International CES gadget show. Spending on smartphones and tablets is still expected to account for some 43 cents of every dollar spent on technology this year.
  • Britain's Treasury chief says the country still has a long way to go to eliminate the deficit and that substantial savings must be gleaned from welfare cuts. George Osborne says 2014 is to be the "year of hard truths," and that there are still big underlying problems in the economy. Osborne told autoworkers in Birmingham on Monday that billions of pounds (dollars) in welfare cuts will be needed.

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