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Thursday Morning Business Brief

September 20, 2012, 5:44 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

Stocks posted modest gains in Wednesday trading. The Dow added 13 points to 13,578. The S&P was up nearly 2 points, while the Nasdaq surged nearly 5 points. Futures trading suggests a lower opening.

  • International stock markets turned lower today after weak Japanese trade figures and a contraction in Chinese manufacturing underlined that the global economy continues to struggle. Benchmark crude oil fell, hovering above $91 per barrel. The dollar gained on the euro but fell against the yen.
  • Yesterday's focus for new economic data was the housing market. Today reports shift gears to the index of leading indicators and weekly jobless claims.
  • New census data suggest that the U.S. economy is showing signs of finally bottoming out. The figures show that Americans are on the move again after record numbers had stayed put, and fewer young adults are living with their parents. About 12 percent of the nation's population moved to a new home in the past year. That's up from a low of 11.6 percent in 2011.
  • Sentencing is scheduled today in what prosecutors call the most serious price-fixing cartel ever prosecuted by the U.S. The Justice Department is demanding that a "remorseless" Taiwanese company pay a $1 billion fine and two former top executives each serve 10 years in prison. The global price-fixing scheme artificially increased the price of LCD screens used in televisions, computers and other electronic products.

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