MID-DAY UPDATE: Oil prices surge above $100 a barrel, Some Republicans OK with a short-lived default
Here are today's top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.
Oil prices are surging above $100 per barrel after the cartel of oil producing nations known as OPEC just announced it will keep production levels steady for now. Member nations are meeting in Vienna and say they'll meet again in three months to consider pumping more oil.
Applications for home mortgages eased last week, although demand for refinancing improved as interest rates edged down, an industry group said Wednesday. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.54 percent in the week, down from 4.58 percent the week before.
McDonald's reported a lower-than-expected sales increase at established stores in the United States in May as high gas prices and unemployment crimped its business.
China says it plans to pay up to nearly $2,800 for old vehicles headed to the scrap heap, in a move aimed at perking up slumping sales.
The Treasury Department says Congress has until August 2 to raise the federal debt ceiling or the U.S. will have to stop paying its creditors. There have been dire warnings about what would happen if the federal government defaults on its debt. But now, it seems more and more Republicans are saying publicly that a short-lived default wouldn't be so bad.
President Obama visits Northern Virginia Community College -- just outside Washington -- today. He's set to announce an expanded job training program aimed at boosting manufacturing.
In a U.S. appeals court in Atlanta today, the Obama administration will be defending last year's health insurance reforms. Earlier this year, a Florida judge ruled the president's Affordable Care Act overstepped the administration's authority when it mandated individuals buy health insurance.
NBC will keep its grip on the broadcast rights to the Olympics. The network beat Fox and Disney by bidding about $4.5 billion for the rights to the Olympics thru the year 2020.
Nintendo has unveiled its latest gaming system -- the Wii U. It won't be available for another year. But even so, analysts aren't sure it'll be enough to win back gamers from rivals such as Sony and Microsoft. The unveiling happened at the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- also known as E3 -- here in L.A.
The Numbers took a beating just before the close -- and the Dow tumbled to a loss of 19 points, just as Fed Chairman Bernanke was delivering a bleak outlook on the sluggish recovery.
To another new piece of technology being unveiled at a park in Hastings, Minn. It's called SonicScreen, and its purpose is to get teenagers to stop hanging out in the local park and vandalizing the playground. How will it do that? By emitting a high frequency sound that apparently can only be heard by people under 20. In fact, we're playing the sound right now. Or are we?
And finally, as anyone who's seen "Mrs. Doubtfire" knows, it can be hard finding good help. A Los Angeles entrepreneur kept hearing that complaint from friends and clients. So he started a special domestic staffing service. And now, the Rent-a-Grandma agency aims to franchise nationwide. It bills itself as the place to find carefully-screened mature women, for nannies, elder care, housekeeping and similar jobs. One of the selling points on the Rent-a-Grandma website: "Women in their 50s don't text or tweet while they're watching your kids."
You can read the rest of today's stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.