Washington's budget fight is reminding Wall Street that the next few weeks could bring a lot of uncertainty. Since investors hate uncertainty, stocks plunged yesterday. The afternoon sell-off wiped out all the gains from a rally earlier in the week. The Dow dropped 185 points. The S&P 500 fell 12 points and the Nasdaq composite fell 14 points.
- The likelihood of a disruption to Middle East oil supplies is diminishing as progress is made in reaching a deal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons and reports signal a return of more Libyan oil to the market. That's putting downward pressure on prices. Benchmark crude for October delivery dropped $1.72, or 1.4 percent, to close at $104.67 per barrel yesterday in New York
- The Navy is suspending a Singapore-based company and its president from contracting with the federal government after his arrest in a bribery conspiracy scheme. Leonard Francis, CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., and two Navy workers were arrested in San Diego earlier this week and face up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery.
- Nielsen has agreed to a sell and license part of Arbitron's services in order to settle the government's concerns that their merger would stymie competition. The agreement clears the way for Nielsen to complete its $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron. Nielsen, the dominant source of TV tracking data, will expand into radio measurement with its purchase of Arbitron.
- AT&T has closed on its $780 million acquisition of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc., a wireless phone operator that operates under the Alltel brand with 590,000 subscribers. The network covers about 4.5 million mostly rural residents in six states. AT&T says it will upgrade the network and roll out its "4G LTE" service in former Alltel areas by late 2014.