The prospect of a federal budget deal might be keeping stock traders optimistic, although it remains to be seen if Wall Street can match the record close of yesterday. Stocks extended a rally from Friday that was driven by a report of solid U.S. job gains. Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management Group, says stocks were supported by reports that U.S. lawmakers were moving closer to reaching a longer-term budget deal. Futures point to a muted opening today.
- International stock markets are muted this morning after some profit taking and after China's industrial production output grew slightly less than estimated. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $98 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
- It's 'wait 'till next year' for the United States and 11 other nations trying to negotiate a free trade zone stretching from Chile to Japan. Talks in Singapore failed to produce the agreement which some hoped would be done before the end of the year. But officials say progress was made and more talks are scheduled for January.
- One vexing issue facing European finance ministers trying to centralize control over banks is whether there should be a common fund to recue failed institutions or whether each country should take care of its own. The European Union finance ministers are meeting in Brussels today.
- The U.S. government ended up losing $10.5 billion on the General Motors bailout, but it says the alternative would have been far worse. The Treasury Department sold its final shares of the Detroit auto giant on Monday, recovering $39 billion of the $49.5 billion it spent to save the dying automaker at the height of the financial crisis five years ago. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says that without the bailout, the country would have lost more than a million jobs, and the economy could have slipped from recession into a depression.