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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

February 29, 2012, 5:53 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

The stock market is looking to continue a wave of confidence that pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to a close above 13,000 yesterday. It hasn't done that since before the financial crisis. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 4.59 to 1,372.18. The Nasdaq composite index, dominated by technology stocks, rose 20.60, or 0.7 percent, to 2,986.76. Futures trading suggests a higher opening.

  • International Stock Markets rose today, boosted by better-than-expected economic data from Japan and expectations that indicators being released later in the day would show an improving U.S. economy. Benchmark crude oil hovered near $107 per barrel while the dollar was virtually flat against yen but higher against the euro.
  • The government issues its report today on 4th quarter Gross Domestic Product. It's a measure of how the economy fared in October-December 2011. A Federal Reserve Beige Book is due this afternoon.
  • The European Central Bank has made $712.4 billion in low-interest loans to banks in the second round of a massive credit infusion credited with easing the eurozone debt crisis. The offer of credit for three years was taken up today by 800 banks.
  • Wage cuts and other austerity measures in Greece continue to draw the ire of the country's largest unions. More protests and a work stoppage are planned today as the crisis-hit country's coalition government presses ahead with its debt-cutting plan.

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