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Thursday Morning Business Brief

December 12, 2013, 5:36 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

The stock market begins a new day after suffering its biggest loss in five weeks on Wednesday. The S&P 500 index fell 20 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,782 yesterday -- the index's biggest decline since Nov. 7. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 130 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,843. And the Nasdaq composite fell 57 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,003. Futures spoint to small gains at this morning's opening.

  • International stock markets extended losses today after an apparent budget deal in the U.S. Congress reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will cut its monetary stimulus as early as next week. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to remain below $97.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • The government's weekly jobless claims number will be released today. That could be a market-mover. Other reports scheduled for release include two from the Commerce Department:  One is November's retail sales data; the other is October's business inventories. Also today, Freddie Mac will release the weekly mortgage rates.
  • While foreclosures remain a concern in select states, the overall number of homes entering the path to foreclosure or repossession by lenders has fallen to levels not seen in more than six years. It's the latest sign foreclosures are becoming less of a national factor on the housing recovery. Foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac says lenders initiated foreclosure action against 52,826 homes in November, down 10 percent from the previous month and 32 percent from November 2012.
  • Exxon Mobil says the drive for higher living standards around the world will keep demand for electricity and transportation fuels growing even as economies get more efficient and governments put a price on pollution. The company's annual long-term energy outlook predicts world energy demand will grow 35 percent by 2040. Exxon uses its outlook to shape its investments.

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