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Friday Morning Business Wrap

Wall Street traders are hearing something they haven't heard in a while: Japan's stock market was higher.

It wasn't by much, but the Nikkei index gained 26.5 points.

Investors were somewhat cheered by the fact that after months of haggling, Japan is expected to pass legislation Friday which will help reform its ailing banking system. The banking system is seen as the major culprit behind the country's economic turmoil.

The bad news is that new reports show there are a record 3 million people unemployed in the country, which is a postwar high.

Market players will be recovering from a virtual bloodbath in Thursday's trading. The Dow lost 210 points.

And the Nasdaq lost more than 5 percent of its value, down 80.5 points.

Part of the problem was a speech by Federal Chairman Alan Greenspan. He spoke to Congress about hedge funds, which are funds for wealthy individuals who have massive investments capable of moving entire markets. Investors were hoping he would say something to soothe Wall Street.

There was some soothing news about the housing market. Mortgage rates fell for the fifth consecutive week to their lowest level in 30 years. The average rate on the 30-year fixed is 6.64 percent.

Reported by CBS MarketWatch Correspondent Stacey Tisdale

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