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Monday Afternoon Business Brief

April 16, 2012, 2:14 PM

Monday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are mixed in afternoon trading. Investors are weighing competing news of strong retail sales in the U.S. against a troubling increase in Spain's borrowing costs. The Dow has spent the day in positive territory, but the broader indexes have wavered. The Nasdaq has been mostly lower, but the S&P 500 has edged back into positive territory.

  • The World Bank has chosen its next leader. He's current Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim. The 52-year-old Kim is a physician and a pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world -- a break from previous World Bank leaders who typically have been political, legal or economic figures.
  • Oil prices are edging lower today after weekend talks between Iran and world powers eased tensions about Iran's nuclear program. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 4 cents in New York, below $103 per barrel. Meanwhile, gasoline prices are averaging about $3.91 per gallon nationwide.
  • Foreign demand for U.S. Treasury debt rose to a record high in February at more than $5 trillion. China is the largest buyer of Treasury debt and it boosted its holdings to nearly $1.2 trillion. U.S. government debt is considered one of the world's safest investments and investor demand has risen in light of Europe's debt problems.
  • Federal safety regulators investigating transmission control problems with BMW 7-Series luxury cars have found 16 crashes and five injuries involving cars in the 2002 through 2008 model years. In some cases the owners may think the cars are in park when they actually are in neutral and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the cars can roll away unexpectedly and crash.

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