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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

February 5, 2014, 5:36 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Will Wall Street continue to recover from a slump today? The Dow rose more than 72 points yesterday, pulling the markets partially out of Monday's 326-point drop. The S&P 500 climbed 13.31 points yesterday, or 0.8 percent, to 1,755.20. And the Nasdaq composite gained 34.56 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,031.52. Futures point to a wobbly outlook at this morning's opening.

  • International stock markets held steady today as wary investors took heart from modest recoveries from sell-offs the day before, but there wasn't much bounce to the rebound. A key source of uncertainty is mainland China, whose markets remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose nearer to $98 a barrel. The dollar fell against the yen and edged lower against the euro.
  • Investors will have a couple of corporate earnings reports to look over in what is otherwise a relatively light day for economic numbers. Time Warner and Merck report quarterly financial results before the market opens. Walt Disney Co. and Twitter also provide their results, but not until after the market closes. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for January.
  • One of Australia's largest banks faces a multimillion dollar payout to thousands of customers after a judge ruled today that late payment fees it charged on credit cards were exorbitant. ANZ Banking Group Ltd. partially lost a class action law suit in the Australian Federal Court. In some cases the fees were 70 times the cost to the bank of administering late payments. The judge said another four types of fees the bank charged were proper.
  • Official figures show that retail sales across the 18-country eurozone suffered their biggest drop in over two and a half years in the crucial shopping month of December. Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, says retail sales across the bloc fell by 1.6 percent compared with the previous month. That was way worse than the anticipated 0.5 percent fall.

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