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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

March 5, 2014, 5:35 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Relieved investors sent stocks sharply higher on Tuesday after Russia pulled troops back from the border of Ukraine. The rally pushed the S&P 500 up 28.18 points, or 1.53 percent, to close at 1,873.91. It was an all-time high and the biggest gain for the benchmark index since October. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 227.85 points, or 1.41 percent, to 16,395.88. The Nasdaq composite rose 74.67 points, or 1.75 percent, to 4,351.97. Futures have been little changed this morning.

  • A sense of relief over the easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine lifted Asian stocks today, but failed to sustain gains for European markets in early trading there. Benchmark crude oil rose slightly to remain above $103 a barrel. The dollar gained slightly against the yen and was little changed against the euro.
  • There are two major economic reports due out today. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for February this morning. The last couple of readings have been above 50, indicating expansion. Then in the afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book survey of regional business conditions. There are also hearings on the budget and data security.
  • China's government is pledging to promote sustainable growth by opening state-dominated industries to private investment and making banks more market-oriented. Beijing also says ti wants to keep this year's economic expansion at a relatively robust 7.5 percent. China's top economic official says Beijing will promote consumer spending, ease exchange rate controls and improve access to credit for productive businesses.
  • The Supreme Court is considering whether to abandon a quarter-century of precedent and make it tougher for investors to band together to sue corporations for securities fraud. The justices hear arguments today in an appeal by Halliburton Co. that seeks to block a class-action lawsuit claiming the energy services company inflated its stock price. A group of investors says it lost money after revelations the company misrepresented revenues caused a downturn.

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