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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

April 23, 2014, 6:23 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Wall Street investors are hoping today will be a seventh-straight day of gains. Yesterday, the S&P 500 rose 7.66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,879.55. The six consecutive gains in the index have marked the longest winning streak since September. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 65.12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,514.37. And the Nasdaq composite gained 39.91 points, or 1 percent, to 4,161.46. Futures point to a sluggish opening today.

  • International stock markets were mixed today as weak data from China sapped the upward momentum from an overnight rally on a flurry of deals in the pharmaceutical sector. The dollar was steady against the euro and slipped against the yen. Benchmark crude oil fell but remains above $101.50.
  • It's a busy day for earnings reports, but there's also a fresh gauge of the housing market on the schedule. The Commerce Department releases figures on sales of new homes last month. Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes slipped 0.2 percent, citing a tight supply of available homes and rising prices. Also today, HSBC releases its monthly flash purchasing managers index for April.
  • Toyota is still the top of the heap in global vehicle sales. Toyota says it sold a record 2.583 million vehicles in the first quarter, putting the Japanese automaker ahead of Detroit-based GM at 2.42 million and Volkswagen of Germany at 2.4 million. Toyota's first quarter sales rose by more than 6 percent.
  •  Australia has increased its order for F-35 Joint Strike Fighters by 58 planes to a total of 72 to be fully operational by 2023 in a declaration of confidence in the troubled stealth war plane. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he expects the additional 58 U.S. jets, developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. will cost 12.4 billion Australian dollars ($11.5 billion). The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program and has been troubled by schedule delays and cost overruns.

 

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