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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

May 20, 2014, 6:53 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief

The stock market has been registering only modest gains in the last few days and investors are hoping for something better when trading resumes today. There are no major economic indicators to propel the market. The week has been light so far on reports indicating the health of the economy, and investors have been more focused to this point on headline-grabbing corporate deals. Futures point to a lower opening.

  • International stock markets are mixed thanks to drift caused by a lack of major economic data. Thailand's stock market fell and the currency wobbled after the military declared martial law amid a running political crisis. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen. Benchmark crude oil rose to remain above $102 a barrel.
  • China's government has dealt Microsoft a disappointment. Beijing says today that it will avoid buying computer equipment that runs on the Windows 8 operating system. The brief statement gave no explanation. Microsoft wants customers to switch to Windows 8 after support for its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system ended in April. Some customers have avoided that, citing expense and inconvenience.
  • The U.S. government has settled a years-long criminal investigation of Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse. The bank has pleaded guilty to helping rich Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts. Credit Suisse also agreed to pay fines of roughly $2.6 billion to the Justice Department, the Federal Reserve and the New York State Department of Financial Services.
  • Experts say Internet gambling in the United States is off to a slower start than many had imagined, held back by illegal offshore operators who are continuing to siphon off millions of dollars. David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, tells a gaming conference that unregulated online gambling can be found in all 50 states. Technical hurdles have also slowed growth, along with laws limiting players to the three states where Internet gambling is legal.

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