The end may be nearing for the Federal Reserve's $85-billion a month bond-buying program that holds down long-term interest rates and supports the economy. That worries investors because the Fed's stimulus has been a key factor in the bull market. Stocks dropped again yesterday. The Dow closed down 104 points. The S&P 500 fell seven and the Nasdaq was down five. Futures point to gains at this morning's opening.
- International stock markets are tentative Friday as investors prepare for the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision next week on whether to reduce its monetary stimulus. Benchmark crude oil fell slight to just under $97.50 per barrel. The dollar rose against the yen and fell against the euro.
- It remains to be seen whether the House's bi-partisan approval yesterday of a budget bill to ease federal spending cuts and head off future government shutdowns will affect the market today. Other than that, investors will have only one government report to digest. It's the Producer Price Index for November.
- A top national negotiator for the Machinists union says Washington state union members should get a chance to decide on a Boeing contract offer that would keep much of the work on a new 777X jet in the Puget Sound region. Local union leaders have said that the price Boeing is demanding is too high and the company's latest offer is "mostly unchanged" from an offer area machinists rejected last month.
- American Airlines, fresh out of bankruptcy and newly merged with US Airways, says it's buying 90 new regional jets from Brazil's Embraer S.A. and Canada's Bombardier Inc.. The jets will be used to replace smaller, less fuel-efficient planes. American says the new planes will reduce operating costs and allow for first-class cabins, economy seats with more legroom that the airline sells for a premium and in-flight Internet service. Financial terms were not disclosed.