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Monday Morning Business Brief

April 21, 2014, 6:13 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

Traders are returning to work on Wall Street after a long holiday weekend. And investors are hoping the stock market will continue the positive momentum that it showed last week. The S&P 500 rose two points to close at 1,864 on Thursday. The Nasdaq added nine points to finish at 4,095. The Dow, however, fell 16 points to close at 16,408.

  • Asian stock markets were mixed today in light trading after Japan reported a record annual trade deficit and investors looked ahead to economic data this week from China and South Korea. Markets in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK and France were closed for Easter. Benchmark crude oil fell but remained above $104 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen but was down marginally against the euro.
  • Investors won't be getting much guidance today. The only major economic report due out is the Conference Board's leading indicators for March. But on Tuesday and Wednesday, two reports will focus on housing. The National Association of Realtors will release existing home sales for March tomorrow. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department will release new home sales for March.
  • A quarterly survey from the National Association of Business Economics finds businesses under pressure rom rising costs for materials and labor. During the first quarter of the year, 31 percent of businesses surveyed reported higher material costs, more than double the 15 percent that saw costs rise in the previous survey. Additionally, 35 percent reported rising wages and salaries at their businesses in the past three months, up from 23 percent in January. Those who said they raised prices remained unchanged at 20 percent.
  • Big media companies who lost the video tape recording battle 30 years ago will be back before the Supreme Court tomorrow to once again argue that their existence is threatened by technological innovation. At issue is Aereo Inc., a startup business takes free television signals from the airwaves and sends them to paying customers over the Internet. Big media says that's copyright infringement.

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