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Thursday Morning Business Brief

March 20, 2014, 6:05 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

Investors are expecting higher interest rates soon. That's the message they're getting from the Federal Reserve. That sent stocks and gold prices lower yesterday and bond yields sharply higher. The Dow dropped 114 points to 16,222. The S&P 500 fell 11 points to 1,860 and the Nasdaq lost 26 points to 4,307. Futures point to more losses this morning.

  • International stock markets fell today after comments from the new head of the Federal Reserve suggested U.S. interest rates could rise sooner than financial markets were anticipating. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $100 a barrel. The dollar inched up against the euro and slipped against the yen.
  • The government's weekly jobless claims report comes out today. Also, the National Association of Realtors will report on existing home sales for February and the Conference Board will release last month's leading economic indicators. Freddie Mac will report weekly mortgage rates as well. Nike will report its quarterly earnings after the closing bell.
  • International criminal enterprises follow the money, and a new report says they are increasingly focusing on California. The report being released today by California Attorney General Kamala Harris says criminals are turning to cybercrime to target businesses and financial institutions. It calls California the top target in the nation for organizations that often operate from safe havens in Eastern Europe, Africa and China. It also estimates that more than $30 billion is laundered through California businesses each year.
  • China Mobile Ltd., the world's biggest phone company by subscribers, says its profit last year fell 5.9 percent due to higher spending and intense competition. The Beijing-based company says Thursday it earned 121.7 billion yuan (yoo-AHN') ($20.3 billion). Revenue rose 5.4 percent to 590.8 billion yuan ($98.5 billion) and the number of customer accounts rose 8 percent to 767 million. China Mobile is spending heavily to roll out fourth-generation service.

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