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Thursday Evening Business Brief

October 18, 2012, 5:34 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief

It was a down day for stocks, with the Nasdaq Composite index the big loser among the major indexes. The Nasdaq lost 31 points to close at 3,073. It was dragged lower by an eight percent drop in Google, its third-largest component. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down eight points to 13,550. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell nearly 4 points to 1,457.

  • Google stock fell more than 10 percent and trading was halted after a disappointing earnings report was mistakenly published ahead of schedule and surprised investors. Google ended down eight percent. The company it blamed for the premature release, R.R. Donnelly, fell as much as six percent but closed just slightly lower.
  • Microsoft's quarterly earnings fell short of analysts' expectations. The company says net income was down 22 percent in the latest quarter as shoppers wait for Windows 8, which launches next week.
  • Consumers are expected to loosen their purse strings just a little this holiday season. The National Retail Federation says shoppers are expected to spend almost $750 each in November and December. That's slightly up from the $741 they spent last year.
  • The price of oil was flat as the market dealt with mixed signals. The price of benchmark U.S. crude was up two cents to $92.10 a barrel. An increase in new home construction suggested an improving economy would need more gas and oil. But U.S. oil supplies are above their five-year average for this time of year.

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