Financial 411: Weekly Business Roundup

Economic Growth Slower Toward Close of 2010

Economic growth at the end of 2010 was slower than many analysts predicted. The Commerce Department said the Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the last three months of last year. That's below forecasts of 3.5 percent.

Still, an economist with Moody's analytics noted a growing demand for American products and services, and declared, "The U.S. Economy is back."

Unrest in Egypt Drives Markets Down

Live footage of Egyptians storming government buildings rattled markets Friday. There have also been protests in Sana, the capital of Yemen. Even though neither country produces much oil, investors worry the unrest could spread to petroleum-producing countries nearby — and that sent the price of a barrel of oil surging more than $3.50, to just under $90 a barrel.

The VIX, which measures investor anxiety, shot up 20 percent. It was its largest daily percentage increase since June.

In trading today, the Dow lost 166 points, closing at 11,824. That's a loss of more than one percent. The NASDAQ lost 68 points, ending at 2,687. The S&P 500 declined 23 points, to end the day at 1,276.

Reviewing This Week's Business and Economic News

This week, there were cheers in the Swiss Alps, as the glitterati of international finance learned the Dow passed the 12,000 mark, at least briefly. Here at home, 1.3 million Long Islanders lost direct control of their county's budget books. And the owners of the New York Mets said they're considering selling off some of their stake in the team.  

Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, reviews this week's stories.