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Thursday Morning Business Brief

January 30, 2014, 5:34 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

Stock traders are now seeing red figures on their screens more often following a stellar 2013. The S&P 500 has fallen 4 percent this month. That's in sharp contrast to last year when the index rose 5 percent in January. Disappointing company earnings, ongoing jitters in emerging markets and more cuts to the Fed's stimulus pushed stocks lower yesterday. The three major U.S. indexes, the S&P, Dow and Nasdaq, all lost about one percent. Futures point to a stable opening this morning.

  • International stock markets were lower today as weak economic data from China and Japan deepened jitters over ongoing reductions in U.S. monetary stimulus. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $97.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • The government reports weekly jobless claims today as well as fourth quarter gross domestic product. Realtors release December's pending home sales index and Freddie Mac has weekly mortgage rates. Before the market opens, Exxon Mobil, 3M, Altria Group and Viacom are among the firms reporting quarterly earnings. After the close, it will be Google, Amazon.com, Visa and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
  • Economists predict the government GDP report today on the October-December quarter will confirm a continuing economic recovery. Economists are forecasting an annual growth rate of 3.3 percent, after an even stronger 4.1 percent rate for July through September. Most economists think this year will see the strongest growth since the recession.
  • Nintendo has been unable to arrest a slide in console sales as more people play games on smartphones and tablets. The company's apparent solution? A move into health care. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata vowed today to stick to the company's old ways, refused to resign or cut product prices despite its dismal earnings, but said the video game maker will enter the health care industry. He gave no details.

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