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Monday Morning Business Brief

April 16, 2012, 5:57 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

Wall Street is coming off its worst week of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 137 points on Friday and was off 1.6 percent for the week. The Nasdaq plunged 44 points on Friday and the S&P 500 lost 17. Futures trading suggests a higher opening today.

  • Another jump in Spain's borrowing costs weighed on international stock markets today amid fears one of Europe's biggest economies could eventually need a bailout. European stocks were mixed in early trading while Asian shares fell. Benchmark crude oil fell to near $102 a barrel. The dollar strengthened against the euro but fell against the yen.
  • This week's schedule of economic news starts with the Commerce Department releasing March retail sales figures this morning, and ends with a gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bank leaders in Washington on Friday. In between are several updates on the housing market.
  • Democrats and Republicans are forcing votes in Congress this coming week on competing tax plans that affect millionaires and smaller businesses, and they know the proposals are doomed from the start. But their efforts are more aimed at voters in November's congressional and presidential elections. Neutral economists say neither bill would do much for the economy or job creation. Some political professionals are equally unimpressed.
  • Revelations of runaway spending by the General Services Administration for conferences and other events is getting a lot of attention in Washington this week with no fewer than four hearings -- two each in the House and Senate. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is getting the first crack at the agency later today.

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