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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

September 5, 2012, 5:37 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Stocks ended mixed Tuesday, as trading began on Wall Street for the holiday-shortened week. The Dow dropped 55 points to 13,036 on Tuesday. The S&P 500 index was down nearly two points to 1,405. The Nasdaq composite index gained 8 to 3,079.

  • On today's economic calendar, the Labor Department releases second-quarter productivity data. Also due, unit labor costs for the most recent quarter.
  • Weaker-than-expected U.S. manufacturing figures, just days after China announced its own production slowdown, have sent world stock markets down Wednesday. A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity ticked down from 49.8 in July to 49.6 in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a private trade group. It was the third straight month of a reading below 50, which indicates a contraction. European stocks fell in early trading and Asian stocks sustained broad losses.
  • Samsung has acknowledged poor working conditions at eight factories in China after a U.S.-based labor group said investigators found widespread abuses. China Labor Watch's investigation of six Samsung-owned plans and two suppliers uncovered excessive overtime and exhausting working conditions that require most employees to work standing. An official says Samsung is aware of the accusations and will start re-evaluating its labor practices in China.
  • Japanese electronics maker Murata Manufacturing Co. has developed the world's tiniest version of a component known as the capacitor. Capacitors store electric energy and are used in the dozens, even hundreds, in just about every type of gadget. The latest capacitor measures just 0.25 millimeter by 0.125 millimeter.

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