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Morning Market Roundup: EU Unemployment, Futures & Oil Up on Fed, American Airlines Combo?


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Eurozone: The unemployment rate across the 17 countries that use the euro remained at a record high of 11.3 percent in July, official figures showed Friday, underscoring the huge task leaders face to restore confidence in the continent's economy.

The European Union's statistical agency, Eurostat, said 88,000 more people were without a job in July - for a total of 18 million - as governments and companies continued to trim payrolls to deal with problems of high debt and weak consumer spending.

The 11.3 percent unemployment rate, which is up 1.2 points from a year earlier, is the highest level since the euro was formed in 1999.

Airlines: The parent company of American Airlines has entered a non-disclosure agreement with U.S. Airways that will allow the companies to discuss combining the companies.

AMR Corp., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and U.S. Airways Group Inc. said Friday that they've agreed not to talk to other parties about any potential combination while they are evaluating their situation with each other.

AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November.

Oil: The price of oil rose to above $95 on Friday as traders awaited a speech by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke for clues on whether the central bank will deliver more help for the struggling U.S. economy.

By mid-afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for October delivery was up 71 cents to $95.33 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract fell 87 cents to close at $94.62.

In London, Brent oil was up 63 cents to $113.28 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Futures: U.S. futures moved sharply higher Friday less than an hour before Chairman Ben Bernanke was to address a Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole. Many investors are already pricing in expectations that the Fed will take no major action to reinvigorate the economy, at least no action just yet.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 114 points to 13,096. The broader S&P futures tacked on 12.4 points to 1,409.50 and Nasdaq futures gained 27.25 points to 2,781.

While all major indexes will likely end lower for the week marked by very light trading, it appeared that some investors had not completely written off some form of support from the Fed, even if the chances are slim.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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