Investors are looking for something to lift their spirits after the stock market sagged again in the wake of indications of instability in the Middle East. Major indexes had been holding onto slight gains yesterday until the last hour of trading. Things seemed to sour not long after the Obama administration sent signals it edging closer to a military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria's President Bashar Assad.
- Major business and economic events scheduled for today include Standard & Poor's release of the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for June and the second quarter. Also, the Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for August, Germany's Ifo institute releases its monthly index of business confidence and Tiffany & Co. reports quarterly financial results before the market opens. Wall Street looks set for a lower open today, according to futures trading.
- International stock markets fell today, dented by fears the U.S. government is gearing up for a confrontation with Syria. Analysts say economic releases scheduled later in the day were not likely to provide the good news needed to reverse the losses. Benchmark crude oil rose above $106 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
- Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has told Congress that the government will run out of money to pay its bills in mid-October unless lawmakers raise the country's borrowing limit, which is capped at $16.7 trillion. Lew said in a letter to Speaker John Boehner that the government is running out of accounting maneuvers it has used to avoid hitting the borrowing limit. He pressed Congress to act so Treasury can keep paying the government's bills.
- A closely watched index of German business optimism rose more than expected in August, underlining improving growth prospects for the struggling euro area. The Ifo index released today rose to 107.5 from 106.2 in July. Market analysts had expected 107.0. But economists say stronger growth is needed to reduce a eurozone unemployment rate of 12.1 percent and cut the heavy debt burdens in some countries.