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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

September 19, 2012, 6:16 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

World stock markets are higher after the Bank of Japan took action to shore up fragile economic growth. The Japanese central bank said it was extending monetary easing by increasing its asset purchasing fund to counter the strength of the Japanese yen. The move surprised analysts since the central bank had not been expected to ease policy until late October.

  • Oil is rising toward $96 a barrel after two days of declines as Japan's central bank joined the U.S. Federal Reserve in easing monetary policy. Benchmark oil for October delivery was up 30 cents to $95.59 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.33 to close at $95.29 on the Nymex yesterday. Brent crude added 15 cents to $112.20 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
  • Stocks were narrowly mixed at the closing bell on Wall Street. The Dow gained nearly a dozen points to 13,565. The S&P slipped nearly 2 points, while the Nasdaq dropped nearly a point.
  • A day after a builders' trade group said industry sentiment had risen to the highest in six years, the government today reports on August housing starts. Also due, a report on sales of previously-owned homes from the National Association of Realtors.
  • Sony is introducing a smaller, slimmer and lighter version of its PlayStation 3 home console ahead of the year-end holidays as it gears up for growing competition in games from smartphones. Today's announcement from the Japanese electronics and entertainment company comes a day ahead of the annual Tokyo Game Show. The global rollout starts Sept. 25 in North America.

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