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Thursday Morning Business Brief

December 19, 2013, 5:35 AM

Thursday Morning Business Brief

The Federal Reserve's decision to trim its stimulus efforts next month is being well-received on Wall Street. The decision removes a huge amount of uncertainty for investors who've been wondering when the central bank would make such a move. Stocks surged yesterday. The Dow jumped 293 points. The S&P 500 rose nearly 30 points. The Nasdaq was up 46.

  • Global stocks are mostly higher as investors interpret the Federal Reserve's decision to trim its stimulus as a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy. Tokyo's Nikkei gained, while Sydney's S&P ASX 200 added 2.1 percent. The benchmark indexes in France and Germany have started the day with gains of one percent or better. Oil has slipped to under $98 per barrel.
  • Investors will be focusing today on the government's weekly jobless claims report. Also, they'll get a clearer picture of the housing market when the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales numbers for November, and Freddie Mac reports the weekly mortgage rates. The Conference Board will release November's leading economic indicators.
  • There's word of a possible security breach involving the retail chain Target. The Secret Service is investigating a theft of credit- and debit-card data at Target stores. The agency is not providing details, such as how many accounts or stores may be affected, and Target has not yet offered comment.
  • Honda tops the insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives 39 vehicles top safety ratings for 2014, and eight of them are made by Honda. The total is dramatically fewer than the 130 on the list last year because of new tougher standards. Vehicles now need both top crash test scores and a good front crash prevention system, such as warning systems or automatic braking, to get its highest designation.

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