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Monday Morning Business Brief

August 18, 2014, 7:23 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

The stock market is holding steady during the summer doldrums. Many traders are still on vacation. But as the new week begins, global news could be a catalyst for market moves as it was early Friday when worries over Ukraine surfaced. By the end of the day, however, the S&P 500 fell only a fraction of a point and the Dow declined 51 points. But the Nasdaq gained 12. Futures point to gains this morning.

  • European stocks bounced back Monday from Ukraine-related selling while Asian markets were subdued by further signs of weakness in China's property market. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $96.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • Investors will be looking over some reports on housing today and tomorrow. The National Association of Home Builders will issue its housing market index for August today. Tomorrow, the Commerce Department will report on housing starts for July. Also, Home Depot will report quarterly earnings before the market opens
  • China's government is cracking down on Mercedes-Benz, saying the carmaker violated anti-monopoly law and charged excessive prices for parts. A growing number of global automakers have been snared in an investigation of the industry. China's Xinhua News Agency says the luxury unit of Germany's Daimler AG abused its control over supplies of spare parts to engage in "vertical price-fixing."
  • Leading patient groups say insurance companies are beginning to find ways around anti-discrimination provisions which are a central goal of the nation's health care law. The insurance industry says critics are confusing legitimate cost-control with bias. Some state regulators, however, say there's reason to be concerned. More than 300 patient advocacy groups recently wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to complain about some insurer tactics that "are highly discriminatory" and may violate the law.

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