Wall Street is coming off a day of small gains. Yesterday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 1,843.80. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent, to 16,414.44. And the Nasdaq composite edged up 0.7 percent, to 4,225.76. Futures point to an indifferent opening today.
- International stock markets mostly posted gains today, led by a surge in Chinese stocks and in anticipation of a raft of British economic data. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $95.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
- It's a light day for economy data, with no new reports before the markets open. EBay and Netflix are scheduled to release quarterly financial results after the market closes. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum is on in Davos, Switzerland through Friday.
- The European Union's top court has upheld an EU-wide regulation that bans some short-selling practices to increase financial market stability. Many blamed short-selling, a practice in which investors bet that the price of a stock or bond will go down, for creating tremendous volatility and threatening the stability of the financial system. Britain claimed the EU exceeded its authority.
- Britain's unemployment rate dropped sharply to 7.1 percent in the three months ending in November, edging closer to the point at which the Bank of England will consider raising interest rates. The Office of National Statistics said Wednesday the unemployment rate is down 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013 and down 0.6 percentage points from a year earlier. Governor Mark Carney has said the bank will reassess its policy when the unemployment rate hits 7 percent.