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Wednesday Morning Business Update

May 21, 2014, 6:00 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Update

Investors will be looking for something to cheer about when trading resumes later this morning on Wall Street. Subpar earnings reports from retailers yesterday caused a sell-off. The Dow lost 137 points to close at 16,374. The S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1,872. And the Nasdaq composite dropped 28 points to 4,096. Futures point to a reversal of yesterday's rout.

  • International stock markets drifted today as investors watched for cues from central banks and Thailand's market stabilized a day after the country's military declared martial law in an effort to calm political tensions. Benchmark crude oil rose above $103 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
  • Japan's trade deficit narrowed in April as exports grew faster than imports following an increase in the sales tax that is expected to dampen demand for some time. Energy plays a big role in Japan's trade balance, and a moderation in April in costs for imports of oil and gas that account for about a third of Japan's imports reflected a strengthening of the yen and decreases in shipments of some fuels.
  • Google is amassing cash overseas to help finance a foreign shopping spree that could cost the Internet company up to $30 billion. The potential price tag for Google's expansion plans outside the U.S. surfaced yesterday in documents disclosing the company's response to recent questions raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Pressed to provide more details about its plans for its overseas cash, Google revealed that $20 billion to $30 billion is earmarked for the acquisition of foreign companies and technology rights held outside the U.S.
  • Netflix will expand into Germany, France and four other European countries later this year as the Internet video service tries to build an international following that might eventually surpass its U.S. audience. The additional markets announced today will extend Netflix's reach into nearly 50 countries, including 13 in Europe. Besides Germany and France, the latest countries on Netflix's list are Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.

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