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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

December 11, 2013, 1:23 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are slipping today as investors assess weak earnings reports from several U.S. companies. Some of the biggest declines are in health care stocks, but the broader market also dipped. Analysts say the market may be succumbing to "buyer's fatigue" after a big rally this year.

  • Many House Republicans like what they've heard in a budget briefing today, but critics say a deficit-cutting plan will actually increase deficits over the next three years. The plan is drawn narrowly but is being promoted as a way to stabilize Congress' erratic fiscal efforts, avert another government shutdown and mute some of the partisan rancor that has damaged Americans' attitudes about their lawmakers.
  • Mexico's Senate has moved the country closer to opening its beleaguered, state-run oil industry to private companies and investment. They voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the government to grant contracts and licenses for exploration and extraction of oil and gas to multinational firms, something currently prohibited under Mexico's constitution.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has moved toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat. The agency has announced today that it will ask pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as acceptable for those uses in animal production. If the companies sign on, use of those antibiotics to promote growth in animals would be illegal and prescriptions would be required to use the drugs for animal illnesses.
  • A new Associated Press-GfK poll indicates that a majority of Americans who fly oppose removing a decades-old ban on making phone calls on planes. The Federal Communications Commission will officially start debate on the policy change tomorrow, when the commission holds the first of several meetings to review the agency's 22-year-old ban. New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has called the current rules "outdated and restrictive."

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