NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have closed slightly lower following disappointing economic news from China and Japan. The Dow dropped 34 points to 16,418, while the S&P 500 edged down a point to 1,877 and the NASDAQ dropped two points to 4,334. Investors were discouraged by an 18 percent slump in Chinese exports last month and Japan lowering its estimate for fourth-quarter economic growth.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The surprise drop in China's exports is helping to send oil prices lower, as investors see weaker global demand. Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery dropped $1.46 to $101.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
DALLAS (AP) -- The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange has filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection. The collapsed exchange is looking to shield itself from a lawsuit filed in Illinois on behalf of all U.S. residents burned by the exchange's abrupt collapse. Mt. Gox earlier submitted a bankruptcy petition in Japan where it was headquartered. According to court documents, Mt. Gox lost about 850,000 bitcoins valued at $473 million.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Edward Snowden is advising attendees at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, on how they can protect their privacy. The NSA leaker spoke by video conference from Moscow. He said Americans can keep their web-surfing activities more private by using a free service called Tor that encrypts web traffic. He's calling on the technology industry to create more services that help guard individual privacy.
HOUSTON (AP) -- The harsh winter has raised fresh concerns about whether the enormous new reserves of natural gas across the U.S. can be reliably delivered. Low temperatures in much of the country drained supplies, froze wells, clogged pipelines and sent prices soaring to record levels in some places. Analysts say more pipelines need to be built to get the gas from the new places it is being produced, such as Western Pennsylvania, to its new customers.
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