Relief over developments in Italy sent stocks higher yesterday on Wall Street. Stocks climbed after Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi promised to resign after parliament passes economic reforms. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 102 points, the Nasdaq rose 32 and the S&P 500 was up 15. Futures trading suggests a retreat this morning.
- Uncertainty over who will lead Italy through the debt crisis once Premier Silvio Berlusconi resigns slammed European stocks and bonds today. That pushed Rome's borrowing rates to worrying new highs. Earlier in Asia, sentiment had been boosted by the Berlusconi pledge, and some cheer from the news that China's stubbornly-high inflation fell in October.
- Oil prices inched down to hover below $97 a barrel today in Asia. Receding inflation in China added to expectations that the world's second-largest economy can continue robust growth and strong demand for crude.
- Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is asking the federal government for $7.8 billion in aid to covers its losses in the July-September quarter. The government-controlled company says it lost $7.6 billion in the third quarter, as low mortgage rates reduced profits and declining home prices caused more defaults on loans it had guaranteed. Fannie has received $112.6 billion so far from the Treasury Department.
- This morning the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for September. And Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at a Fed conference on small business and entrepreneurship.