International stock markets rose today on improved U.S. housing sentiment and news of diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire in Ukraine. A survey yesterday showed sentiment among home builders improved in August, pushing Wall Street along. The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent to 1,971.74. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.1 percent to 16,838.74. The Nasdaq composite added 1 percent to 4,508.31. Futures point to gains this morning. The dollar gained against the euro and was little changed against the yen. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $97 a barrel.
- Two economic indicators for the month of July will be released this morning. The Commerce Department will give gauge the strength of the housing market when it releases figures on housing starts. And the Labor Department will issue the Consumer Price Index for last month. Before the market opens this morning, Home Depot is set to release its quarterly financial results.
- BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, says it plans to split off some of its smaller assets into a separate company, as it posted a $13.8 billion annual profit. Melbourne, Australia-based BHP says the reorganization will allow it to concentrate on its mainstay iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum and potash businesses. The new company will include assets from five countries, including aluminum, nickel, manganese, silver and coal.
- Federal charges have been filed against two owners and two employees of a Northern California slaughterhouse involved in a massive beef recall that allegedly processed cows with cancer while U.S. livestock inspectors took lunch breaks and later distributed the diseased cattle. Prosecutors are alleging that the owners of Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp. schemed with employees to slaughter about 79 cows with skin cancer of the eye rather than stopping plant operations during inspector lunch breaks.
- Herman "Hy" Goldman turned 101 this weekend and won't quit after working 73 years working at Capitol Lighting in New Jersey. Goldman still shows up four days a week at the light fixtures company in East Hanover. His co-workers celebrated his birthday with him yesterday. The store says he was first hired to sell items and stock and clean the displays. A co-worker says Goldman now specializes in rebuilding items that were damaged or unusable.