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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

April 1, 2014, 5:37 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief

Today marks the beginning of a new quarter on Wall Street. Yesterday wrapped up the first quarter of this year with the Dow up 134.60 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 16,457.66. The S&P 500 rose 14.72 points, or 0.8 percent, to end the day at 1,872.34. And the Nasdaq composite rose 43.23 points, or 1 percent, to close at 4,198.99. Futures point to more gains this morning.

  • Global markets were mostly higher today but Asia's main index dipped as manufacturing surveys suggested China's economy slowed in the first quarter and a Japanese central bank survey showed pessimism at companies. The dollar fell against the euro and gained against the yen. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $101.50 a barrel.
  • The Commerce Department issues data on construction spending in February this morning. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management will release its manufacturing index for March. And over the course of the morning, automakers will be reporting their U.S. vehicle sales numbers for March.
  • Greece is hoping for a nod from European Union finance ministers who are meeting in Athens amid tight security. Greece has been dependent on rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. Greece is looking for a gesture of support for the release of long-delayed funds from the country's multi-billion-euro bailout.
  • The unemployment rate across the 18-country eurozone in February remained steady near record highs. The European Union's statistical agency says the jobless rate was 11.9 percent, where it has been since October. It peaked at 12.1 percent last year. Eurostat says the rate for the wider 28-nation European Union, dropped slightly to 10.6 percent from 10.7 percent in January.

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