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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

July 29, 2014, 6:14 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief
NEW YORK -

A series of merger announcements drove trading on Wall Street yesterday, but the stock market ended the day without significant change. Investors have their eyes on the wrap-up of a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve Board Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.1 percent to 16,982.59. The S&P 500 closed at 1,978.91, nearly unmoved. And the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index slipped 0.1 percent to finish at 4,444.91.

  • Asian stocks extended gains today with the South Korean stock market closing at a three-year high ahead of U.S. and Chinese economic reports later this week. Markets in Japan, Hong Kong and China also posted gains. In morning trade in Europe, markets in France and Germany's DAX are down. Britain's market is up. Futures show Wall Street is set for a weak start after its main benchmarks closed flat on Monday. Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures both fell 0.2 percent.
     
  • Southwest Airlines has 30 days to respond to the federal government's proposed $12 million civil fine - the second-largest fine the Federal Aviation Administration has proposed against an airline. The FAA says Southwest failed to comply with safety requirements related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners.  Southwest spokesman Brandi King says the airline will respond in accordance with the agency's procedures.
     
  • Ford is raising the price of its new aluminum-sided pickup truck, while trying to stay competitive with rivals. Ford released pricing on the truck yesterday. It goes on sale later this year. The new truck comes in five variants, down from 10 on the current truck. All have aluminum sides, which is more expensive than steel but weighs less and saves fuel.
     
  • A study by the Urban Institute says more than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies. These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bills. Their mortgages, auto loans or student debt pile up, unpaid. Even past-due gym membership fees or cellphone contracts can end up with a collection agency, potentially hurting credit scores and job prospects.

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