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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

July 10, 2014, 1:52 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are bouncing back from heavy losses earlier today. Worries about the soundness of a European bank sent the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 170 points in the first 20 minutes of trading. Two hours before the close, the Dow was off less than 50 points.

  • The specter of Europe's financial crisis is back to haunt investors. Worries over the health of Portugal's biggest bank are raising fears that the country might run into financial trouble again, just weeks after emerging from a bailout. The International Monetary Fund, which provided funds for the Portuguese bailout, acknowledged in a statement that "pockets of vulnerability remain" in Portugal but declined to comment specifically on the case.
  • A federal judge is ordering the IRS to explain under oath how it lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency's tea party controversy. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has given the tax agency a month to submit the explanation in writing. The IRS says it lost the emails in 2011 when Lois Lerner's computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status.
  • The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon over charges that the company hasn't done enough to prevent children from making unauthorized in-app purchases. The dispute is over in-app charges in children's games on Kindle devices, where it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate whether users are spending virtual or real currency to acquire virtual items. The FTC settled with Apple over a similar matter for $32.5 million in January.
  • The United Auto Workers union is forming a new local at Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee, where a previous attempt to unionize suffered a stinging defeat. The union's secretary-treasurer, Gary Casteel, tells The Tennessean newspaper that UAW officials believe the German automaker will recognize the union if it signs up a "substantial" number of workers. If successful, it would become the South's first unionized foreign auto plant.

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