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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

June 18, 2014, 6:15 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Investors have mostly been in a holding pattern on Wall Street this week and that may not change when trading resumes today. Analysts will be looking for the Federal Reserve's update this afternoon on the health of the economy. Stocks rebounded from a slow start yesterday, building on small gains for the third day in a row. The Dow closed up 27 points at 16,808. The S&P 500 index rose four points to 1,942, while the Nasdaq composite added 16 points to 4,337. Futures point toward little change at this morning's opening.

  • International stock markets are muted as investors await an update on the U.S. economy later Wednesday from the Federal Reserve following its two-day policy meeting. Japanese markets rose on a weaker yen. Benchmark crude oil rose above $106.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
  • On the trade front this morning, the Commerce Department releases the current account trade deficit for the first quarter. And Japan releases monthly trade data for May, which may show a surge in exports that could offset the plunge in domestic demand that followed a sales-tax hike in April.
  • Policymakers at the Bank of England voted unanimously to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent - unwilling to tamper with an economy that is returning to normal. Minutes published today for the June meeting showed policymakers were united in voting to keep interest rates steady.
  • Japan logged its 23rd successive month of trade deficits in May, as exports and imports both declined despite signs of recovering demand in the U.S. and Europe. The deficit in May was 909 billion yen - or $8.8 billion.  That's according to the Finance Ministry. It says exports to the U.S. fell by nearly 3 percent from a year earlier. Exports fell 2.7 percent to 5.6 trillion yen - or $54.9 billion, while imports dropped 3.6 percent to 6.5 trillion yen or $63.7 billion.

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