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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

July 18, 2012, 1:28 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Technology stocks have led the way as the stock market has rallied today. Investors were cheered by a report on new home construction that was much better than expected. At midday, the Dow was up more than 100 points.

  • In the second of two days of congressional testimony, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that there are limits to what the central bank can do to help the economy. While saying that progress has been made, he said recovery has been slower than hoped.
  • The Commerce Department says construction of single-family homes rose for a fourth straight month in June to a two-year high.  Permits to build single-family homes were at their highest since March 2010.
  • Investigators are working to identify and seize the personal assets of the disgraced founder of Iowa brokerage Peregrine Financial Group, who will be jailed until at least next week while the probe into his alleged $200 million fraud continues. Russ Wasendorf Sr. is being held in an undisclosed location. Some of the 250 Iowa workers of the firm who lost their jobs were to begin applying for unemployment benefits today.
  • Following the lead of Verizon, AT&T says it will introduce wireless data plans that let subscribers connect up to 10 phones or other devices. AT&T's prices will track closely with those of Verizon. One smartphone with 1 gigabyte of data will cost $85 per month with AT&T, compared with $90 with Verizon. Two smartphones and a tablet computer with 6 gigabytes of shared data would cost $170 on either carrier.

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