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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

January 8, 2014, 5:52 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Investors on Wall Street hope to keep a good thing going when the market opens. The stock market broke out of its start-of- year funk yesterday as the Standard and Poor's 500 index had its first up day of 2014. The index rose 11 points to break a three-day losing streak. Health care and technology stocks rose the most. The Dow gained 105 points, while the Nasdaq composite rose 39 points. Futures point to positive opening territory today.

  • International stock markets mostly rose today, spurred by expectations of faster U.S. economic growth. A decline in the U.S. trade deficit for November has raised expectations that fourth quarter economic growth will be higher than 3 percent. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $94 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • Among the economic reports due later this morning is one detailing private-sector employment figures from payroll processor ADP. Later on, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from December interest-rate meeting and it also will issue its study of onsumer credit data for November.
  • Unemployment in the eurozone remains at a record high but appears to have stabilized. Official figures show the rate in November remained at 12.1 percent for the eighth straight month. The figures also highlight a big disparity. While countries like Germany and Austria have unemployment rates around 5 percent, those at the forefront of Europe's debt crisis, such as Greece and Spain, are in the 25 percent range.
  • Germany's trade surplus widened to a near record in November. Official figures out today could potentially fuel critics' concerns that the country is not spending enough to help out its struggling partners in the eurozone. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has for a while been criticized of relying too heavily on its exports and not importing enough to boost other eurozone economies.

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