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Monday Morning Business Brief

June 23, 2014, 5:37 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

Two of the three major stock indexes are in record territory as a new trading week begins. Both the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average hit record highs on Friday. The S&P rose three points to close at 1,962. The Dow added 26 points to 16,947, as it inches toward the 17,000 mark. The Nasdaq composite gained nine points to 4,368. Futures suggest a flat opening.

  • Australian shares rose today but other international stock markets were mixed amid concerns about widening turmoil in Iraq. HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers' index showed activity in China's huge manufacturing sector expanded for the first time this year, an encouraging sign for Australia. Benchmark crude oil rose above $107 per barrel. The dollar slipped against the yen and strengthened against the euro.
  • There's a great deal of housing data for investors to digest this week. Today, the National Association of Realtors will report May's existing home sales. Tomorrow, the Commerce Department will report new home sales for May and Standard & Poor's will release the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for April.
  • A contract expiration date looms for nearly 20,000 workers at West Coast ports and it's making business owners anxious. Contentious issues include benefits and job security. Cargo for the back-to-school and holiday seasons begins to arrive soon. Negotiators on both sides say talks will likely continue beyond the June 30 deadline and West Coast ports are no stranger to labor unrest.
  • Wilcox County, Alabama has the state's highest unemployment rate, but it's getting help from a company in China. The Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group in Henan Province has opened up a plant in Pine Hill, Alabama, and the company will employ more than 300 people. What's happening in Pine Hill is starting to happen across America. The research firm the Rhodium Group says more than 70,000 Americans work for Chinese companies who've invested in the U.S.

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