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Thursday Morning Business Brief

November 1, 2012, 5:42 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

Wall Street returns for another trading session, after yesterday's first day of business after Hurricane Sandy. It also begins a new month, after stocks were mixed Wednesday. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq fell nearly 11 points, while the S&P gained less than a point. Futures trading suggests a lower opening today.

  • Asian stock markets were mixed today and European shares opened slightly higher. Signs of strengthening Chinese manufacturing weren't enough to broadly lift international stock markets as investors await key U.S. economic data and digest a slew of bad earnings reports. Benchmark crude gained to remain above $86 per barrel. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen.
  • Today brings a heavy helping of economic data, just ahead of tomorrow's monthly report on unemployment. Among the readings due today are consumer confidence and manufacturing data from the Institute for Supply Management along with retail sales and car sales.
  • Two business surveys show China's manufacturing improved in October, adding to signs the world's second-largest economy might be recovering from its deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis. Chinese economic growth fell to a 3-1/2 year low of 7.6 percent in the quarter ending in September, but other indicators including retail sales and investment are improving.
  • The Chinese government's main sovereign wealth fund says it has bought a 10 percent stake in the operator of London's Heathrow Airport, expanding its investments in British infrastructure. China Investment Corp. was created in 2007 to manage a portion of China's multitrillion-dollar foreign reserves. The fund's chairman also has an eye on U.S. investments.

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