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Thursday Evening Business Brief

January 2, 2014, 5:16 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief
  • It was not a great start to 2014 for the stock market. After hitting record after record in 2013, U.S. stocks slumped on the first day of trading of the new year. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 135 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 16,441.The S&P 500 index fell 16 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,831. The Nasdaq composite lost 33 ½ points, or 0.8 percent, at 4,143.
  • Expectations of higher global supplies of crude and a strengthening dollar are sending the price of oil down sharply. It dropped 3 percent today. Benchmark crude for February delivery fell $2.98 to close at $95.44 a barrel in New York. It's the biggest one-day drop in crude since November of 2012. At the gas pump, AAA says the price of a gallon of regular rose less than a penny today to $3.33.
  • A Labor Department watchdog says a practice that allows reporters to review a key unemployment report before it's made public should be ended. The department's Inspector General says media "lockups" for weekly jobless benefits are a problem because news outlets can feed the data to investment firms and financial exchanges right after the 30-minute lockups end.
  • Boeing's contract proposal to machinists in the Puget Sound region would likely increase some workers' annual base salaries to more than $100,000 in 2020. The most common class of machinists would reach $82,000.The offer is being put to a vote this week. Local union leaders say machinists should reject it. But the contract would secure work on Boeing's new 777X in the region at a time when 22 states are vying for those jobs.
  • American Airlines says more than 60,000 employees voted and a majority want to paint red, white and blue horizontal stripes on the tails of all AA planes. The company plans to repaint more than 1,100 American, US Airways and US Airways Express planes now that American and US Airways have merged. New American jets already bear the election-winning look.

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