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Monday Morning Business Brief

March 17, 2014, 5:38 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

World events are making some people skittish about risk investments. Concerns over a slowing Chinese economy and possible sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine are weighing on investors. Last week, many on Wall Street turned to lower-risk stocks and bonds. The Dow dropped 43 points on Friday. The S&P 500 fell five points and the Nasdaq lost 15 points. Futures point to opening gains today.

  • International stock markets drifted today as investors largely shrugged off a weekend vote in which Crimea opted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. The U.S. and Europe have threatened Russia with sanctions. European shares crept up in early trading while Asian stocks were mixed. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen. Benchmark crude oil slipped below $99 a barrel.
  • The Treasury Department will release today details on foreign holdings of U.S. debt in January and the Federal Reserve will report on February's industrial production.  Also today, the National Association of Home Builders will release its housing market index for March.
  • Toyota says it has shut down production at its two auto-assembly plants in India, locking out 6,400 workers amid testy wage negotiations and allegations of threats against management. A statement from the Indian unit of the world's largest automaker said the company had no other option but to declare a lockout "to ensure the safety" of workers and management. The union could not immediately be reached for comment due to a public holiday in India.
  • Street racers couldn't catch a time-traveling dog and his boy. Though Disney's "Need for Speed" was expected to take the No. 1 position at the box office, DreamWorks' "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" took the lead, with the action film in third place. The animated movie, about the adventures of a genius dog and the human son he adopted, earned $21.2 million according to studio estimates. Warner Bros.' warrior drama "300: Rise of an Empire," dropped to second. "Non-Stop" was fourth while Tyler Perry's "The Single Moms Club," starring Nia Long and Amy Smart, opened at No. 5.

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