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Saturday Business Brief

February 8, 2014, 5:07 PM

Saturday Business Brief

Some investors are breathing a sigh of relief after the stock market rebounded from a deep slump earlier in the week to muster the first positive five-day stretch after three weeks of declines. Yesterday's modest gains added to a strong finish for stocks a day earlier. The Dow gained 1.1 percent. The S&P 500 rose 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq increased 1.7 percent.

  • Increasing demand for fuel and some positive sentiment about the job market are leading to higher oil prices. Yesterday, benchmark crude for March delivery gained $2.04, or 2.1 percent, to close at $99.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon held steady at $3.27.
  • The incoming chairman of the Senate Finance Committee says he'll make revamping the federal income tax system a top priority. Sen. Ron Wyden calls the tax system a "dysfunctional, rotten mess." The Oregon Democrat also says he'll focus on creating jobs for the middle class and strengthening the guaranteed benefits of Medicare while holding down costs.
  • The federal government says it's updated the website to fix a wrinkle that temporarily left some children without insurance coverage. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service tells New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter that consumers can now use the website to report if someone was denied coverage and take steps to add the child to a subsidized plan.
  • Travelers are eager to see how American Airlines and US Airways resolve differences in amenities and frequent-flier programs now that they've merged into one carrier. In one area, leaders at American Airlines Group say they plan to go with American's practice of providing extra legroom with a few seats in the economy cabin, and charging passengers more to sit there.

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