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Thursday Morning Business Brief

January 16, 2014, 5:34 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

It remains to be seen if yesterday's upswing in the stock market will continue today. The S&P 500 index managed to eke out a record at the close, gaining 9 ½ points to 1,848. The Dow closed up 108 points to 16,481. The Nasdaq rose 32 points to 4,214. Solid economic reports and strong earnings were behind yesterday's positive market performance. Futures point to a lower opening today.

  • International stock markets struggled today as they fought to scrape out more gains a day after a key U.S. benchmark climbed to a new high on strong earnings and economic data. Asia markets were relatively muted as they closed, after they failed to sustain gains earlier in the day. Markets in France and Germany dipped while the British exchange was nearly unchanged in early trading. The dollar edged up against the yen and fell against the euro. Benchmark crude oil fell to near $94 a barrel.
  • The government's weekly jobless claims number will be released today. That could move the markets. The Consumer Price Index for December will also be available. Freddie Mac reports weekly mortgage rates today, and the National Association of Home Builders will release January's housing market index. There are also a slew of quarterly earnings reports.
  • European car sales have dropped for the sixth straight year. The European carmaker's association says sales of new cars shrank 1.7 percent to 11.8 million last year. That's the lowest level since 1995 and a 26 percent contraction from 2007 sales. But the group says there was a 13.3 percent surge in sales in December.
  • A case in a Southern California traffic court today could help shape future laws on wearable technology. Software developer Cecilia Abadie is believed to be the first person cited for wearing Google Glass, the computer-in-an-eyeglass, while driving. She's pleaded not guilty. She was pulled over in October on suspicion of speeding on a San Diego freeway. The officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation for driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of the vehicle.

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