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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

August 7, 2012, 5:43 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief

Stocks began the week on an up note. The Dow gained 21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,118. The S&P was up 3 points, while the Nasdaq composite added 22. Futures trading suggests more gains at this morning's open.

  • International stock markets were moderately higher today, continuing to get a boost from an unexpected improvement in U.S. hiring that added to signs the global economy might be emerging from its downturn. Benchmark crude oil rose above $92 a barrel. The dollar was down against the euro but rose against the yen.
  • On today's economic calendar, the Federal Reserve releases monthly figures on consumer credit. Also, the Labor Department reports on the level of job openings in June.
  • Italy's recession has deepened with its economy shrinking for the fourth quarter in a row. Official government statistics released today show that that the economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months. It's also the worst year-on-year contraction since the fourth quarter of 2009.
  • Is everybody happy? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wants to know. Bernanke says gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Bernanke says that in addition to money and benefits, economics is also about understanding and promoting "the enhancement of well-being."

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