Some signs of movement on the budget stalemate in Washington helped slow Wall Street's slump. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose 26 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 14,803, while the S&P gained a point, or less than 0.1 percent, to finish at 1,656. However, the Nasdaq fell 17 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,677. Based on futures trading, Wall Street appears set for a higher opening.
- International stock markets were mostly higher today as President Barack Obama prepares to meet with top Republican leaders in hopes of ending an impasse over the nation's borrowing limit and partial government shutdown. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $102 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and gained against the yen.
- President Barack Obama is hosting top House Republicans today to seek an opening in an impasse that has shuttered much of the government and threatens a catastrophic federal default. House GOP leaders are contemplating advancing a short-term debt limit increase designed to buy time and calm jittery stock and bond markets. There's a closed-door House GOP meeting this morning.
- China has achieved another world-beating status its leaders don't want: Biggest oil importer. China passed the United States in September as the world's biggest net oil importer, driven by faster economic growth and strong auto sales, according to U.S. government data released this week. China's economic boom has spurred demand for imported oil and gas, which communist leaders see as a strategic weakness.
- The number of U.S. homes set on the path to foreclosure slid to a seven-year low in the third quarter, reflecting a gradually improving housing market and fewer homeowners falling behind on mortgage payments. Lenders initiated foreclosure action on 174,366 homes in the July-September period, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2006. Foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. also says that while fewer homes are entering the foreclosure process, lenders stepped up home repossessions, which led to a quarterly increase in that category.