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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

March 18, 2014, 1:24 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

The stock market continues to recover from last weeks' losses. Home builders have been leading the way today after the Commerce Department said that applications for building permits reached their highest level in four months. The Dow was up more than 100 points in afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 was up about 14 points and the Nasdaq composite was up more than 50.

  • U.S. CEOs are growing more optimistic about economic growth this year. The Business Roundtable says its CEO outlook index rose to its highest level in two years in the first quarter. Nearly half the CEOs surveyed said they plan to invest more in the next six months. Such spending is typically followed by more hiring.
  • Greece has reached an agreement with international debt inspectors that will allow the release of a long-delayed rescue loan installment. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the deal includes no new austerity measures. The agreement concludes six laborious months of talks with officials from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. Greece has depended on its bailout from other European countries and the IMF since mid-2010.
  • A federal grand jury is convening as part of a widening criminal investigation triggered by Duke Energy's massive coal ash spill in North Carolina. The spill coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge. Prosecutors have issued at least 23 subpoenas to Duke executives and state officials.
  • Organizers of the fast-food protests for higher wages are shifting their sights to another issue affecting workers: practices they say amount to "wage theft." Protesters rallying at McDonald's restaurants in New York and other cities are calling attention to the denial of breaks and other violations they say deprive workers of their pay.

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