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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

August 20, 2014, 6:00 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief
TOKYO -

Asian stocks got a slight boost today from positive U.S. economic figures while European markets drifted lower in early trading. Wall Street futures point to a lower opening today. Yesterday, The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.5 percent to 1,981.60. The index is up 1.4 percent for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to 16,919.59. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.4 percent to 4,527.51. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $95 a barrel.

  • The Federal Reserve will releases minutes from its July interest rate meeting today. Before the market opens, Lowe's Cos. and Target Corp. are to report quarterly financial results.
     
  • The nation's late-payment rate on home loans is down nearly 20 percent from a year ago. Credit reporting agency TransUnion says fewer U.S. homeowners are falling behind on their mortgage payments, and that's brought down the late-payment rate on home loans to the lowest level in six years.
     
  • The government says Japan's trade deficit rose in July from the month before to a wider than expected 964 billion yen ($9.4 billion), though exports were higher for the first time in three months. It was the 25th straight monthly trade deficit for the world's third-largest economy, due mainly to an increase in imports of oil and gas to compensate for idled nuclear reactors following meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in 2011.
     
  • Peanut and almond butters sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and other grocers are being recalled because of possible salmonella contamination. A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. says there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters. They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters, and private label brands for Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. They were sold in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S.

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