Stocks Rose in Choppy Trading

U.S. stocks finished higher Monday but well off the day’s highs, as investors were hesitant to take big risks without a catalyst for buying. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.00 points, or 0.34%, to end at 10,854.65 and the S&P 500 added 0.29 point, or 0.03%, to end at 1,123.82. The Nasdaq Composite rose 3.54 points, or 0.15%, to 2,345.38.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to use his highly anticipated speech from Jackson Hole, Wyo. to stress that he is willing to ride to the rescue to stabilize the economy.

Telecommunications companies in 16 states will share more than $103 million in federal funding to help expand broadband Internet access to those areas of rural America that haven’t been reached by the high-speed service or are underserved, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday.

Greece’s finance minister said Monday that the crisis-afflicted economy will shrink more than expected this year, putting further pressure on the country’s ambitious deficit-cutting effort.

International oil prices fell Monday on the prospect that exports from Libya will return to the market at a time of economic weakness. Brent crude, which is used to price many international oil varieties, dropped 92 cents to $107.70 per barrel in London. U.S. benchmark crude fell briefly, then rose $1.01 to $83.42 per barrel in New York as traders used a financial strategy to take profits.

After ending its debit rewards program for new customers earlier this year, Wells Fargo is now scrapping the program for existing customers as well. Beginning in October, customers who are already enrolled in the issuer’s debit card rewards program will no longer receive points for making debit card transactions.

Skype is expanding even before it gets absorbed by Microsoft Corp. The online communications service said Monday that it plans to buy GroupMe, which provides group text messaging.

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