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Saturday Business Brief

January 4, 2014, 2:13 PM

Saturday Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - It was one big party in the stock market last year and now 2014 is starting off with a bit of a hangover. The S&P 500 index edged a fraction of a point lower to 1,831 yesterday, beginning a year with a two-day losing streak for the first time since 2005. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 29 points to 16,469 on Friday. But the Nasdaq composite fell 11 points to 4,131.

  • The price of oil continues to plunge. It fell 1.6 percent Friday to below $94 a barrel. Benchmark crude for February delivery fell $1.48 to close at $93.96 a barrel in New York. Prices have fallen 6.4 percent over the past week. Meanwhile, Triple-A says the price of a gallon of gas edged up less than a penny on Friday to $3.33 -- the highest level ever for this time of year.
     
  • Factors which have kept the U.S. economy from accelerating appear to be abating. That's according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who predicts stronger growth in 2014. His speech yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association was one of his final appearances as Fed chairman. He's stepping down at the end of this month.
     
  • Liberty Media wants to take full ownership of Sirius XM in a deal that would value the satellite radio service at nearly $23 billion. The Englewood, Colo.-based company already owns 53 percent of the outstanding shares of New York-based Sirius XM Holdings. Liberty is offering to exchange some of its Series C common stock for the rest of Sirius XM's shares.
     
  • The stakes were high and the vote was close. And in the end, Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777-X airplane for Washington state. Under the terms of the eight-year contract extension, Boeing said the 777-X and its composite wing will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the Machinists union.

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