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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

December 11, 2013, 5:43 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Wall Street fell back to a slower pace, and some losses, after hitting an all-time high to begin the week. Analysts will be watching closely today to see how traders react to tentative agreement in Washington on a new, short-term, modest budget deal. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 52.40 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,973.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 5.75 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,802.62. The Nasdaq composite lost 8.26 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,060.49. Futures point to a lower opening this morning.

  • International stock markets mostly fell today as investors factored in the prospect of the Federal Reserve reducing its lavish monetary stimulus this month. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below 98.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and fell against the yen.
  • Pessimism among women remains strong when it comes to equality in the workplace. The Pew Research Center finds about 75 percent of young women believe the U.S. needs to do more to bring about workplace equality. Pay gaps have narrowed but the study finds they widen again for women by the time they hit their mid-30s. Factors include family responsibility, gender stereotyping, discrimination, weaker professional networks and women's hesitancy to aggressively push for advancement.
  • Federal regulators have approved the Volcker Rule, which bars banks from betting on the market with their own money starting in July 2015. The Volcker rule is part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed in 2010 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The news pushed bank stocks higher.
  • In a history-making move, General Motors has installed a woman at the helm of the company. The automaker has named Mary Barra as their next CEO. She'll replace Dan Akerson and will be the first woman to run a major U.S. car company. The government also says it has sold the last of its stake in the automaker, which it acquired following GM's 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring.

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