Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Stock prices reduced US household wealth in Q2

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Americans' wealth dipped about 0.5 percent in the April-June quarter as a drop in stock prices more than offset a gain in home values.

Yet since June, a resurgent stock market has jumped about 7 percent, more than reversing last quarter's 3 percent drop in stock prices. And it's brought many Americans closer to regaining the wealth they lost to the recession â¿¿ if they managed to keep their home and have invested in stocks.

Rising wealth could give many people and businesses the confidence to step up spending and boost U.S. economic growth and job creation. That's a key goal of the bond-buying plan the Federal Reserve unveiled last week. The Fed hopes to drive interest rates down and stock prices up.

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Oil drop reflects reality of global economy

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Reality returned to the oil market this week.

Oil has fallen 7 percent since last Friday, when the price briefly topped $100 for the first time in 4 months. The sharp drop was expected and overdue, many analysts say.

Traders had driven oil prices up by 30 percent since late June in anticipation of new measures from the world's central banks to boost economic growth. This week they woke up to some cold hard facts: there's no easy fix for the global economy, demand for oil is slowing and there's plenty of supply.

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Panetta talks computer hacking issues with Chinese

BEIJING (AP) â¿¿ Despite several years of escalating diplomacy and warnings, the U.S. is making little headway in its efforts to tamp down aggressive Chinese cyberattacks against American companies and the government.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is wrapping up three days of meetings with military and civilian leaders, said he has brought the issue up at every session and come away with little more than agreements to talk again.

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