Stocks finished lower Tuesday. The Dow dropped 89 points to 12,878. The S&P fell 7 points to 1,399 while the Nasdaq lost nine points to 2,968. Futures trading suggests a lower open today.
- Lack of progress in negotiations for a deal to avoid a U.S. budget crisis before a January deadline sent international stock markets lower today. Benchmark crude oil fell to hover just above $87 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro but fell against the yen.
- Part of today's focus will be on the housing market as the Commerce Department releases new home sales for October. The Federal Reserve has the Beige Book survey, prepared for the central bank's next policy-setting session.
- The latest batch of government data suggests that the economy is improving just as the holiday shopping season begins. American consumers are growing more confident about the job market, companies are ordering more equipment and home prices are rising in most major cities. Experts say the big payoff could come next year, unless efforts to avert the fiscal cliff fail.
- There's a half-billion dollars up for grabs tonight and all it will take is a $2 Powerball lottery ticket and a boatload of good luck. But past big money lottery winners warn that there's a downside, including others' greed, lost friends and an emotional roller-coaster of joy, anxiety, guilt and distrust. Experts say psychological planning is as important as financial planning.
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