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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

March 18, 2014, 5:37 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief

Investors were able to put aside the ongoing political turmoil in Ukraine on Monday to focus on a bit of good news on the U.S. economy. Stocks ended sharply higher, helped by a report that showed factory output rebounded last month. The Dow Jones industrial average added 181.55 points to 16,247.22. The S&P 500 rose 17.70 points to 1,858.83 and the Nasdaq composite rose 34.55 points to 4,279.95. Futures point to possible gains at this morning's opening.

  • International stocks are mixed today on stronger U.S. factory production and relief that sanctions imposed on Russia following the Crimea reference avoid its vital economic interests.  Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose back above $98 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
  • Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates today. It's the first policy-setting meeting under new Fed chair Janet Yellen. This morning, the Labor Department releases its Consumer Price Index for February. Inflation at the consumer level has been tame for the past year. The Commerce Department offers up housing starts.
  • Wal-Mart is taking a deeper dive into video games. The retailer plans to expand its video game trade-in program to its stores, offering store credit for thousands of video games. The world's largest retailer also plans to offer refurbished used games in its stores for the first time. Wal-Mart has been seeking new ways to boost revenue as its low-income customers remain under economic pressure.
  • South Korea says a consortium of Caesars Entertainment and Indonesia's Lippo conglomerate has received a preliminary license to build a casino-resort near the country's largest airport, stepping up competition among Asian countries to lure Chinese tourists. The Indonesian-U.S. consortium plans to spend 743.7 billion won ($696 million) to open a casino town in Incheon in 2018. It is the first South Korean casino license given to foreign investors.

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