Corporate earnings season is off to a positive start and that helped push the stock market higher yesterday. The biggest gainer in the S&P 500 was Alcoa. The aluminum giant's earnings came in well above Wall Street's expectations. The Dow gained 79 points, the S&P added 9 and the Nasdaq composite rose 27 and a half points.
- Global markets are mixed today with a slight pickup in China's exports failing to give a lift to European stocks after most Asian indexes closed up. China's customs office says June exports grew 7.2 percent in dollar terms from a year earlier, accelerating slightly from May. The growth is a small sign of improvement for the world's No. 2 economy.
- The price of oil has fallen for nine straight days as global supplies continue to flow despite unrest in the world's most important oil-producing region. While the insurgency in Iraq is far from resolved, it hasn't halted oil exports. Libyan crude exports appear poised to surge after an agreement between the government and local militias cleared the way for export terminals to open. Prices are down again today, with benchmark U.S. crude 49 cents lower at $101.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
- In today's economic news, the Labor Department will report on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. The Commerce Department issues its May report on wholesale stockpiles. And Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week.
- A Northern California chemical engineer is facing the possibility of more than 20 years in prison when he is sentenced today for a rare economic-espionage conviction. A jury convicted Walter Liew of economic espionage, obstruction of justice and other charges related to the sale of stolen DuPont Co. technology for making white pigment to the Chinese government. His lawyers are seeking a prison sentence of about five years.