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Monday Morning Business Brief

July 16, 2012, 5:35 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

Stocks were mixed last week, helped by Friday's strong rally. In the latest session, the Dow gained 204 points, or 1.6 percent to 12,777. The S&P added 22 points to 1,357. And the Nadsaq surged 42 points to 2,908. Futures trading suggests modest losses today.

  • Financial markets were subdued today ahead of a raft of U.S. corporate earnings statements that should shed more light on the state of the U.S. economic recovery amid Europe's continuing debt crisis. Benchmark crude oil fell below $87 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro.
  • June retail sales data and May business inventories figures are due today from the Commerce Department. This week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke goes to testify before Congress about the economy and we also get the leading economic indicators.
  • A new survey by the National Association for Business Economics is finding less evidence of hiring, confirming the trend in recent monthly jobs reports from the government. In the NABE's quarter survey of 67 economists, 22 percent report rising employment in July, down from about 30 percent in the last three surveys. But only 9 percent report employment is actually falling.
  • A survey by the country's largest student lender shows families pinched by the rising cost of higher education are finding ways to economize. The Sallie Mae survey shows that the average amount spent on college by families declined by 5 percent in the 2011-12 school year.

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