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Thursday Morning Business Brief

July 24, 2014, 6:28 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

Corporate financial results have been strong so far this earnings season with most companies beating expectations. Yesterday, however, they pulled the indexes in different directions. Investors had positive earnings from the technology industry to weigh against disappointing news from Boeing. The S&P 500 posted a new record high at 1,987.01. However, Boeing dragged the Dow lower. The aircraft maker's shares fell 2 percent, and the bluechip index finished down nearly 27 points at 17,086.63.

  • World shares are rattled today by reports the European Union is weighing stiffer financial sanctions against Russia, following the shootdown of a Malaysia Airlines plane over a part of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. Asian stocks closed mixed, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 0.7 and South Korea's Kospi down 0.1 percent. The Nikkei slipped 0.3 percent. European markets opened lower, and Wall Street appears poised for losses with Dow futures and S&P 500 futures both 0.1 percent lower.
  • China's manufacturing rose in July to its highest level in 18 months. That's considered a sign that mini-stimulus measures to shore up growth in the world's No. 2 economy have taken hold. The preliminary HSBC purchasing managers' index rose to 52.0 in July from 50.7 in June on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate contraction. That's the highest reading since January 2013.
  • The government has its usual weekly reports on jobless claims and mortgage rates today, along with the monthly report on new home sales. There's a long list of companies releasing quarterly financial results this morning. They include Ford and General Motors, Caterpillar, 3M, American and Southwest Airlines and Union Pacific.
  • Facebook is on a roll. The world's largest online social network posted sharply higher earnings after the market closed yesterday. The company's revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, while more people used Facebook, more often. The company earned $788 million, or 30 cents per share, in the April-June period. That's more than double its numbers from the same time last year.

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