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Wednesday Evening Business Brief

December 18, 2013, 7:19 PM

Wednesday Evening Business Brief
  • Stocks are surging after the Federal Reserve decided the economy was strong enough for it to reduce its stimulus efforts next month. The Fed has voted to cut its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases by $10 billion. The Dow and S&P 500 returned to record highs today. The Dow soared 292 points to 16,168. The S&P jumped 29 points to 1,810. The Nasdaq rose 46 points.
  • The price of oil is higher today. Oil's upward move follows the Federal Reserve's decision to begin reducing its monetary stimulus and news that U.S. oil supplies fell for a third straight week. Benchmark crude for January delivery gained 58 cents to $97.80 a barrel in New York. At the gas pump, Triple-A says the average price for a gallon of regular is holding at $3.22.
  • Congress is sending to President Barack Obama bipartisan legislation that scales back across-the-board spending cuts on programs ranging from the Pentagon to the national park system. Today's final vote on the measure was 64-36 in the Senate. The House approved the bill last week. The White House supports the bill, and Obama's signature is assured.
  • A portfolio manager for one of the nation's largest hedge funds who was accused of using insider trading to boost sagging results in 2007 has been found guilty of all charges at a New York City trial. A jury in federal court in Manhattan issued the verdict for Michael Steinberg today. Steinberg's case was the first to result from the government's focus on insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors.
  • BP says it has made a "significant" discovery in the Gulf of Mexico in a well it co-owns with ConocoPhillips. The oil company says it made the find at an exploration well about 300 miles southwest of New Orleans in approximately 4,900 feet of water. BP says more drilling is necessary to determine how big, and potentially how valuable, it might be.

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