Stocks are coming off their first gain of the week. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72 points yesterday to 13,486. The S&P 500 was up 14 to 1,447. The Nasdaq composite index added 43 to 3,137. Heading into the final session of the week, the key averages are down between 0.7 and 1.4 percent. Futures trading suggest a flat opening today.
- International stock markets rose today after Spain announced severe budget cuts meant to show international lenders and investors that the country is taking steps toward getting its debt under control. Benchmark crude oil rose above $92 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
- Earlier this week, we heard that consumer confidence had risen this month. We'll find out today whether spending has seen any improvement lately. The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for August.
- Spain is set to reveal how much trouble its banking system is in when it releases the results of audits of 14 lenders today. The results will also help the country decide how much money it will tap from a $128 billion loan facility to prop up the country's financial sector.
- The U.S. Postal Service is about to miss another big payment. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the agency will be forced to miss the $5.6 billion payment due to the Treasury on Sunday, its second default in as many months. The Congressional assistance the service has been requesting for more than a year is on hold at least until Congress comes back after the elections.
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