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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

March 19, 2014, 5:33 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Investors are hoping Wall Street will continue to recover today following its biggest weekly drop in almost two months. Stocks got a boost yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial average gaining 88.97 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,336.19. The S&P 500 rose 13.42 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,872.25. And the Nasdaq climbed 53.36 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,333.31. Futures point some gains at this morning's opening.

  • International stock markets were subdued today ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve's first policy meeting under its new chief. Most analysts expect the Fed to continue to reduce its monetary stimulus at the speed it has already set. Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped to just above $99.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • It's an important day for investors who will get their first hints about how the Federal Reserve will do business with Janet Yellen at the helm. Of particular interest will be hints about what Yellen might do differently than her predecessor, Ben Bernanke. The Fed wraps up its first regular meeting with Yellen as chairwoman today.
  • Besides the wrap-up of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting, the day includes some economic and earnings data. This morning, the Commerce Department releases current account trade measure for the fourth quarter. And FedEx will report quarterly financial results before the market opens.
  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting the U.S. Justice Department may reach a $1 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp., ending a four-year criminal investigation into the Japanese automaker's disclosure of safety problems. Toyota declined comment today on the report which cited unnamed sources who said a settlement still could fall apart. Toyota said it is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's office.

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