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December 17, 2014 05:46 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Beijing, China

Global stocks are mostly lower today as oil prices tumble again and investors wait for a U.S. Federal Reserve statement on monetary policy. Key indexes in Europe are down as much as 1 percent, while Asia had a mixed day. China's Shanghai Composite gained 1.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei added 0.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.4 percent. Benchmark U.S. crude is down about $1, trading below $55 a barrel. Futures suggest Wall Street could see a modest rebound after yesterday's losses.

  • WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve policymakers wrap up another two-day meeting with a statement on interest rates this afternoon. Analysts are expecting they will drop language promising to keep interest rates low for a "considerable time," but no immediate change is expected. The Fed has said monetary policy will return to normal sometime next year following its history-making stimulus in the aftermath of the 2008 global crisis. Most economists expect it will wait at least until June to raise short-term rates.
     
  • WASHINGTON (AP) - The government will have fresh data on trade and inflation today. The Labor Department releases Consumer Price Index for November at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, while the Commerce Department announces the current account trade deficit for the third quarter.
     
  • WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that keeps most of the government operating over the next nine months. The Department of Homeland Security will only receive its money through Feb. 27. That limit was demanded by Republican leaders to appease critics of Obama's immigration measures. Homeland Security oversees the nation's immigration enforcement.
     
  • LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sony Pictures Entertainment reportedly is telling theater owners that they can cancel their plans to show "The Interview," the comedy about an assassination attempt against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It's set to debut in theaters on Christmas Day. Hackers are telling audiences to stay away from venues showing the movie, invoking the memory of September 11, 2001. But the Department of Homeland Security has said that there is no credible intelligence to indicate a threat.
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