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Thursday Morning Business Brief

February 13, 2014, 5:34 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

Investors apparently want to see further evidence the economy is improving for the stock market to advance from here. Weak earnings yesterday from Lorillard and Procter & Gamble helped end the market's longest winning streak of the year -- four days. The S&P 500 fell half a point. The Dow dropped nearly 31 points. The Nasdaq rose 10 points. Futures point to losses at this morning's opening.

  • International stock markets fell today, led by a drop in Tokyo, as investors fretted upcoming U.S. indicators would show weakness in the world's biggest economy. The soft stock markets came after investors plowed back into riskier assets for several days, encouraged by improved trade figures from China and the new U.S. Federal Reserve chief's pledge to continue low interest rates. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $100 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
  • The weekly jobless claims report will be released today. The government will also report retail sales data for January and business inventories for December. Freddie Mac will issue weekly mortgage rates. There are also quarterly earnings reports today from PepsiCo, Burger King, Kraft Foods, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Goodyear.
  • A couple of cable TV titans seek to become one. Two people familiar with the matter say Comcast has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal would make Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes.
  • Lenders repossessed fewer U.S. homes in January, bringing the number of completed foreclosures down to the lowest level in more than six years. Even so, many states posted sharp increases in the number of homes entering the foreclosure process for the first time. Foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. says banks took back 30,226 homes last month, a drop of 4 percent from December. Completed foreclosures were down 40 percent from January last year.

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