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Thursday Morning Business Brief

May 22, 2014, 6:23 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

The major American stock indexes are on track for a weekly gain. They made a big comeback yesterday and recovered losses from Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 159 points to end at 16,533, its biggest gain in five weeks. The S&P 500 rose 15 points to close at 1,888. And the Nasdaq was up nearly 35 points to finish at 4,131. Futures point to a tepid opening this morning.

  • Asian stock markets were mostly higher today, led by Japan's Nikkei after a manufacturing survey suggested the slowdown in China's economy is flattening out and Fed minutes reinforced expectations the U.S. central bank won't rush to raise interest rates. European stocks were muted in early trading. Benchmark U.S. crude oil edged below $104 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • The government's weekly jobless claims report will draw investor's interest today. The National Association of Realtors will release last month's existing home sales and Freddie Mac will report the weekly mortgage rates. The Conference Board will also release leading economic indicators for April. Sears, Best Buy, Gap and Hewlett-Packard will report quarterly earnings
  • Several European countries' commitment to the painful economic reforms meant to cut debt and foster growth could be shaken by this week's elections to the European Parliament. Anti-EU parties could be buoyed by protest votes against austerity. The EU parliament has limited power but the vote could ripple back to the national level.
  • Asian leaders say that even though talks on a Pacific Rim trade pact are making progress, the outlook for a deal this year remains uncertain. Singapore's prime minister says there needs to be a deal before the U.S. mid-term elections because there's no telling what a new Congress will look like and the preoccupation with presidential politics begins.

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