Stocks fell back from record levels on Wednesday as investors decided it was better to play it safe. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.92 points to 1,888.53. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 101.47 points to 16,613. The Nasdaq composite fell 29.54 points to 4,100.63. Futures point to opening gaines today.
- European stocks opened marginally higher in early trading today despite muted trading in Asian markets. Investors are waiting for European growth figures later in the day. A survey of analysts by financial data provider FactSet forecasts that the eurozone economy grew 0.4 percent from the previous quarter. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $102 a barrel. The dollar edged up against the euro and the yen.
- The federal government releases a slew of reports today, on industrial production, unemployment benefits, consumer prices, foreign holdings and mortgage rates. The National Association of Home Builders will also report on sentiment among U.S. builders.
- Japan's economy grew at a 5.9 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the fastest in nearly three years, as companies and consumers broke out their wallets to beat a sales tax increase that is expected to cause a contraction in the current quarter. The growth figures for the world's third-largest economy released today were in line with expectations. Strong private consumption, residential investment and corporate spending were the biggest contributors.
- With some controversial pipeline projects appearing on the verge of approval, Canada is also announcing that pipeline companies will be liable for all costs and damages from a spill, regardless of fault or negligence under a new law. But there is fierce environmental and aboriginal opposition to two pipelines in British Columbia. Opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential Exxon Valdez-like disaster on the pristine Pacific coast.