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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

June 25, 2014, 1:31 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are edging higher this morning, as investors shrug off a pair of weak economic reports, showing the U.S. economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter and durable goods orders were down again last month. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite are all in positive territory, but just barely.

  • The government has revised its estimate of how much the U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter. The Commerce Department says the economy contracted at an annual rate of 2.9 percent from January through March, largely the result of the harsh winter. While that's the biggest contraction since the depths of the recession five years ago, most economists see the setback as temporary, with growth rebounding solidly since spring.
     
  • Durable goods orders dropped 1 percent in May, the result of a sharp drop in demand for military equipment.  The Commerce Department says, excluding defense-related goods, orders actually rose 0.6 percent, and orders for core capital goods also increased, reflect a rise in business investment.
     
  • Monsanto says its earnings fell more than 5 percent in the third fiscal quarter as sales of biotech corn seeds slipped. The St. Louis company says it earned $858 million, or $1.62 per share in the three months ended May 31. However, Monsanto's overall earnings topped Wall Street estimates and its shares are up more than 5 percent today.
     
  • Barnes & Noble is splitting its retail bookstores and Nook media business into two separate public companies. Barnes & Noble has been trying to turn itself around as competition from discount stores and online retailers toughens, and as readers shift away from traditional books to digital formats. Earlier this month, the bookseller announced that it's teaming with Samsung to develop Nook tablets. Barnes & Noble share were up nearly 10 percent in morning trading.

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