Stocks are lower this afternoon as the tone from Capitol Hill grows more irritable. The Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have been working on a deal to avoid a debt default and reopen the government. But today, House Republicans countered with their own plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called that an attack on bipartisanship and vowed the GOP plan would not pass the Senate. The Dow was down about 50 points in afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are also lower.
- European Union finance ministers have approved the creation of a centralized banking supervisor for the bloc. It will operate out of the European Central Bank and directly oversee the EU's 130 biggest banks, assessing balance sheets to identify possible capital shortfalls. However, EU finance ministers remain far from agreement on how to fund a bank rescue authority.
- The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in developing rules aimed at cutting emissions of six heat-trapping gases from factories and power plants. The question in the case is whether the EPA's authority to regulate automobile emissions of greenhouses gases, which stemmed from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, also applies to power plants and factories.
- Closing arguments are underway in the government's insider-trading case against billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The SEC accuses Cuban of selling his shares in search engine company Mamma.com after learning privately about a stock offering that would lower the value of the shares. The SEC says Cuban avoided $750,000 in losses. Cuban says other investors knew about the offer and he did nothing wrong.
- Walmart says it plans to accelerate growth of its small stores by linking them to its supercenters, which will serve as mini-warehouses for their smaller cousins. The world's largest retailer is facing increasing pressure from online retailers as well as dollar stores, which have been rapidly building stores and winning customers through low prices and convenience.
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