The stock market is coming off its worst sell-off of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 313 points Wednesday, ending the session at 12,933. The S&P lost 34 points to 1,395, while the Nasdaq composite index was down 75 points to 2,937. Wall Street is poised for a flat opening today.
- International stock markets settled down today after the turmoil of the previous day when concerns over the U.S. fiscal situation combined with renewed worries over the European economy to hammer stocks. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $85 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro.
- On today's economic calendar, the Labor Department releases weekly claims for unemployment benefits. Also due today, Freddie Mac releases its weekly roundup of mortgage interest rates.
- The European Union is considering imposing tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels and parts after a complaint from European manufacturers alleged that Beijing is subsidizing the industry. The Commission, the EU's executive arm, opened its investigation Thursday. It is already looking into a complaint that Chinese manufacturers are "dumping" solar panels on Europe - selling them at below-market rates.
- Employee 401(k) accounts grew more than 4 percent in the third quarter as a rising stock market boosted investment returns, and contributions from workers and their employers increased. Fidelity Investments, the nation's largest 401(k) administrator, says that the average balance of $75,900 at the end of the quarter was the highest since it began tracking the data in 2000. Three months earlier, the average account balance was $72,800.
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