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Saturday Business Brief

August 30, 2014, 2:07 PM

Saturday Business Brief

The bulls just keep on running on Wall Street. They've been doing so for more than five years now. The S&P 500 index delivered its fourth record high in five days on Friday, ending with the biggest monthly gain since February -- up 3.8 percent. The index finished up 6 ½ points to 2,003 yesterday. The Dow gained 19 points to 17,098. The Nasdaq added 22 1/2 points to 4,580.

  • Escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia have pushed oil prices higher. They rose for the fourth day in a row Friday. Benchmark U.S. crude climbed $1.41 to close at $95.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 73 cents to close at $103.19 in London.
  • A new study says a first-of-a-kind, experimental drug for heart failure has exceeded expectations. It's being called one of the biggest potential advances against heart failure in more than a decade. Doctors say the Novartis drug, which doesn't even have a name yet, cut the chances of death or hospitalization by about 20 percent. The study was stopped early because it worked so well. Results are in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's staff thinks the government needs to tighten smog rules by somewhere between 7 and 20 percent. In a new report, the staff agrees with EPA's outside scientific advisers the 6-year-old standard for how much smog is allowed needs to be stricter. The report says that'll provide more health protection for higher risk populations.
  • A time few could imagine during the glory days of casino gambling has arrived in Atlantic City, where two casinos and more than 5,000 jobs will be lost this weekend. The Showboat is closing Sunday, followed by Revel's two-day closure Monday and Tuesday. Trump Plaza is next, closing Sept. 16. Atlantic City began the year with 12 casinos, but before summer's end, it will have eight. The contraction is blamed on increasing competition in neighboring states.

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