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Thursday Evening Business Brief

January 9, 2014, 5:00 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief
  • Stocks are ending mixed after drifting between slight gains and losses all day. The Standard & Poor's 500 inched up less than a point to finish at 1,838. The index had only its second gain out of the six days of trading in 2014. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 18 points, closing at 16,444. The Nasdaq composite fell nine points to 4,156.
  • Traders are worried about bulging supplies of crude oil and falling demand for gasoline and that drove down the price of oil to its lowest level in eight months. Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 67 cents to close at $91.66 in New York. At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of regular remained at $3.31 today. That's 5 cents higher than a month ago.
  • Alcoa says it lost $2.34 billion in the fourth quarter, mostly because it wrote down the value of aluminum-smelting operations. The company says without the write-downs and other special items, it would have earned 4 cents per share on revenue of $5.59 billion, a drop of 5 percent. Alcoa is struggling with low aluminum prices but predicts demand for aluminum will grow 7 percent this year, the same as in 2013.
  • A new report says personal computer sales slipped even further during the holiday shopping season, capping the worst annual decline in the PC industry's history. The research firm Gartner Inc. estimates worldwide PC shipments for the three months ending in December dropped 7 percent from the same time in 2012. The PC slump is driven by the growing popularity of less expensive and more convenient mobile devices controlled by touch-screen technology instead of keyboards and computer mice.
  • Production is heating up at the Electrolux kitchen oven plant in Tennessee and officials say 650 jobs will be added in the next five years. Electrolux officials today led state and local politicians on a grand-opening tour of the 750,000-square-foot factory located at an industrial park in southwest Memphis. The plant is supported by $150 million in taxpayer incentives.

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