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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

July 11, 2012, 3:30 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have seen mostly lower prices since today's opening bell on Wall Street. The price of crude oil jumped $2 a barrel after the government said that U.S. crude supplies fell for a second week straight, a sign that demand for energy may be increasing.

  • Newly released meeting minutes indicate Federal Reserve officials are closer to taking further action to help boost slowing U.S. growth. But minutes from last month's meeting show policymakers remain at odds over whether more help is needed now.
  • Spain's government is putting more austerity measures in place, even as unemployment grips one-quarter of the country's population. It has unveiled sales tax hikes and spending cuts aimed at reducing its budget.
  • The nation's trade deficit shrank by nearly 4 percent in May. There were lower imports and rising exports during the month, but economists caution that the improvement may not last because growth has slowed since then.
  • Social networking site Formspring says it is disabling nearly 30 million registered users' passwords after hundreds of thousands of them were leaked to the Web. A hacker is said to have gained access to one of the San Francisco-based company's servers, grabbing onto hundreds of thousands of encrypted passwords.

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