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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

December 24, 2013, 8:43 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief

Christmas Eve brings a shortened trading day today, and the markets are closed tomorrow. Trading has been very light ahead of the holiday, but stocks rose Monday in quiet trading. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to 16,294.61. The S&P 500 was up 0.5 percent to 1,827.99. And the Nasdaq rose 1.1 percent to 4,148.90. Futures point to modest gains at this morning's opening.

  • International stock markets extended gains today on eased concerns about a cash crunch in China and continued optimism over the U.S. economy. Trading volumes remained light a day ahead of Christmas. The dollar gained slightly against the euro and the yen. Benchmark crude oil fell below $99 a barrel.
  • Stores are hoping Americans open their wallets wider today, the last chance to shop for those perfect Christmas gifts, after an apparently frugal holiday shopping season. Sales at stores have fallen for three consecutive weeks, putting the pressure on retailers to enhance the lures that put shoppers in a buying mood.
  • Target Corp. says the Department of Justice is investigating the credit and debit card security breach at the retailer. Target revealed last week that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. The Department of Justice declined to comment. Target also says it is working with the U.S. Secret Service in the retailer's own investigation.
  • For the second time in six months, a shortage of cash in one corner of China's banking industry has stirred anxiety in financial markets. The interest rate charged on loans from one bank to another spiked to nearly 9 percent this week, well above the usual 2-3 percent. The rate spike could have repercussions for the world's second-largest economy if the cash shortage forces banks to restrain commercial lending.

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