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Business Words in the News
Friday 18 October 2002
Vocabulary from the business news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  graph showing rising US stock market prices
US stock markets rise
Summary: Stock market prices in America have risen sharply this week, encouraging some analysts to believe that the stock market may be recovering. This report from Stephen Evans at the close of trading on 15th October.
The News Listen  
  Four days of rising share prices don't make a boom. But they do put a touch of brightness into the unrelenting gloom of previous weeks where prices fell steadily, begging the question of when the bear market would end.

Share prices in New York rose because three big bell-wether companies reported good figures. General Motors made a big loss in the third quarter of the year, but that was only because of one-off costs. Its fundamental long-running profitability improved. Johnson and Johnson, the pharmaceuticals company, and Citigroup, the finance company, also reported reasonable improvements in earnings.

After the recent rises, the Dow Jones index of prices of the biggest American companies is still lower by a third compared with six months ago.

The danger for the economy is that consumers lose confidence because their savings have shrunk in value, and as the prospect of war loomed larger, and that reduced consumer confidence would eventually translate into lower incomes and higher unemployment. That prospect hasn't gone, but four days of rising prices is better than four days of falling prices.

The Words Listen
  don't make
do not add up to, are not a sign of

  unrelenting gloom
very bad news that seems to have lasted for ever

  begging the question
making people ask

  bear market
long period where the value of shares fall (opposite of a bull market)

  bell-wether companies
companies whose market value acts as an indicator, or benchmark, of the overall condition of the Stock Market

  one-off costs
that must be paid only once

  fundamental long-running profitability
ability to make money in the long term

  lower by a third
reduced by a third

  have shrunk in value
are now worth less

lower (here, reduced is an adjective)

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