Thursday Evening Business Brief
August 29, 2013, 5:15 PM
- Stocks are closing slightly higher after encouraging reports on the U.S. economy. The Dow rose 16 points to 14,840. The S&P 500 edged up three points to 1,638. And the Nasdaq rose 27. The government raised its estimate for U.S. economic growth in the last quarter to 2.5 percent from 1.7 percent. Also, the number of people seeking jobless benefits continued to decline.
- The price of oil is down as an attack on Syria seems less imminent. Also, a rise in U.S. crude inventories helped bring down the price. Benchmark crude fell $1.30, or 1.2 percent, to $108.80 a barrel in New York. Meanwhile, gasoline is up ahead of Labor Day weekend. Triple-A says the average price for a gallon of regular rose by 1.8 cents to $3.56 today, its biggest overnight jump in six weeks.
- Nasdaq OMX Group says a three-hour trading halt last week was partly the result of issues within the company's control. Nasdaq detailed some of its early findings from an internal review. It blames "a confluence of unprecedented events" that overwhelmed the exchange's system for handling price information. It says high-speed trading played no role.
- Tentative signs that the merger of American Airlines and US Airways might happen after all is lifting airline stocks. A federal bankruptcy judge indicates he's leaning toward approving American's plan for emerging from bankruptcy. That comes a day after the airlines and Justice Department said they're open to settling the government's lawsuit aimed at blocking the merger.
- The "Avengers" sequel has its villain. Marvel has announced that James Spader will play Ultron in its "Avengers: Age of Ultron," the sequel to the 2012 box office hit "The Avengers." Disney will release it in May 2015. The 53-year-old Spader is well known for this TV work including roles on "The Practice," ''Boston Legal" and the upcoming NBC drama "The Blacklist."
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