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Monday Morning Business Brief

April 2, 2012, 6:06 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

Wall Street can only hope the second quarter can be nearly as good for investors as the first quarter was. During the past three month period, the Dow gained 8 percent; the S&P was up 12 percent, the best for those indexes in 14 years. The Nasdaq jumped 19 percent for the Nasdaq, its best since 1991. In Friday trading, the Dow rose 66 points, or 0.5 percent. The S&P was up 5 points, while the Nasdaq fell nearly 4 points. Futures trading suggests a lower opening. 

  • International stock markets faded today as a worsening downturn in European manufacturing compounded fears of a recession there. Some Asian markets advanced on the heels of a report Sunday that said Chinese manufacturing gained momentum in March. European shares were mostly lower in early trading. Benchmark crude oil slipped below $103 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
  • On today's economic calendar, the Institute for Supply Management releases its March manufacturing index. Also, the Commerce Department releases construction spending for February.
  • New vehicle sales surged 78 percent in Japan in March, supported by government  subsidies for energy efficient cars. The Japan Automobile Dealers Association says sales of new autos totaled 497,959 vehicles in March, up from 279,389 vehicles in the same month in 2011. The increase was exaggerated by the sharp drop in sales after a massive earthquake and tsunami.
  • The 17-country eurozone is facing new recession concerns. A closely-watched survey has found that the manufacturing downturn in the 17-country region got worse in March. And eurozone unemployment rose to 10.8 percent in February, the highest since the euro was introduced in 1999.

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