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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

December 18, 2013, 5:35 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Higher than normal anxiety likely will greet Wall Street's opening today as the Federal Reserve Board in Washington gets set to make an afternoon policy announcement. The stock market edged slightly lower yesterday as Fed members started their two-day policy meeting. Some think it could herald the beginning of the end for its bond-buying stimulus program.

  • World stock markets are mostly higher, with overseas investors calmly waiting for word from the U.S. Federal Reserve on when it will start reducing its monetary stimulus. Japan's Nikkei closed 2 percent higher, while other Asian markets mostly rose. Europe's benchmark indexes also are seeing gains, while U.S. stock futures suggest a higher opening on Wall Street.
  • The Senate is expected to give final congressional approval today to a bipartisan budget bill aimed at easing some of the pain of mandatory budget cuts while averting interruptions in the business of government. The legislation has passed the House and it has been sent to a final vote in the Senate after surviving a procedural hurdle yesterday.
  • Two people with knowledge of its plans say that the Archer Daniels Midland Company will move its global headquarters from Decatur to Chicago. The deal could be announced later today. Sources say it calls for relocating 60 to 75 employees and doesn't involve tax incentives, which the agribusiness giant initially had sought from Illinois lawmakers.
  • Paint makers could face a surge of lawsuits after a California state court judge ordered three companies to pay $1.1 billion to help government agencies get rid of lead from an estimated 5 million homes in the state. The ruling was a rare loss for an industry that had turned back some 50 lawsuits filed nationwide over the last 25 years. The legal push was designed to win billions of dollars from the industry to remove lead-based paint from homes built before the federal government banned the product from the U.S. market in 1987.

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