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Friday Morning Business Brief

December 20, 2013, 5:33 AM

Friday Morning Business Brief

Financial markets are still digesting the Federal Reserve's decision to trim its stimulus. Stocks gained the most in more than two months on Wednesday after the Fed's announcement. But investors decided to take a breather yesterday and the market closed essentially flat. The S&P fell a point, The Dow gained 11 and the Nasdaq dropped 12 points.

  • World markets are mixed today as China moves to prevent a new liquidity crunch and investors continue to react to the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to begin scaling back on its easy-money stimulus policy. European and Asian markets have been relatively flat. The dollar has hit a five-year high against the Japanese yen, helping the Nikkei recover some early losses and remain near a six-year peak.
  • The European Union's credit rating has been downgraded. The Standard & Poor's rating agency says the battle over the EU budget and the worsening creditworthiness of its member state prompted it to strip the EU of its AAA rating. However, the agency say the outlook is stable and has given the EU a rating of AA+, which is still considered very solid.
  • There's only one government economic report scheduled for release today. The Commerce Department will reveal the final third-quarter gross domestic product number. Also, Walgreen will release its quarterly financial results before the market opens.
  • The New York City Council has taken a step toward banning the use of plastic foam food containers. It voted unanimously Thursday to begin a yearlong inquiry to see whether the foam containers can be effectively recycled. If not, the council will move to ban the material. The chamber also voted to amend the city's Smoke-Free Air Act to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in areas where smoking's already not allowed.

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