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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

October 17, 2012, 6:28 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

After strong gains for the second time in two days, Wall Street's key averages have chalked up gains of nearly 2 percent. In Tuesday trading, the Dow rose 128 points to 13,552, the strongest advance in a month. The S&P added 15 and the Nasdaq gained 37.

  • Home builders report they are increasingly optimistic about the outlook. Today, we'll see what kind of demand they are seeing. The government reports on September housing starts.
  • Oil prices have been steady so far today after a positive day for stock markets and hopes that Spain might be on the verge of requesting a bailout. Benchmark oil for November delivery was unchanged at $92.09 a barrel in Asian trading. Bent crude was down 22 cents to $113.78 a barrel in London.
  • Rising speculation that Spain will soon ask for outside help to keep a lid on its borrowing costs is helping to ease the pressure on the country in financial markets. The interest rate on Spain's benchmark 10-year bond fell 0.23 percentage points to 5.53 percent in early trading. It has hovered close to 6 percent in recent weeks amid uncertainty over whether the country will apply for aid so that the European Central Bank can begin buying Spanish bonds in the markets in an attempt to keep the country's borrowing costs down.
  • Apple is hinting at an unveiling of its so-called iPad mini. It has sent out invitations for an event to be held next Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., saying "We've got a little more to show you." Media and analysts have said for months that Apple has an "iPad mini" in the works.

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