Wall street is hoping for better days this week. The Dow eaked out a four point gain Friday, while the S&P 500 rose two points and the Nasdaq nine. That wasn't enough to offset the previous days' post-election losses. The Dow and the S&P both lost more than 2 percent for the week. Investors have been worried Washington may not be able to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.
- Uncertainty over whether Washington will work out a spending and taxation deal that is crucial to keeping the U.S. economic recovery on track caused international stock markets to stall today. Japan says its economy contracted an annualized 3.5 percent rate for the quarter ending in September. Benchmark crude oil fell below $86 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but gained against the yen.
- A fresh batch of economic data is expected this week, though there's nothing out today. The most closely watched report comes tomorrow, when the Commerce Department releases October retail sales figures. Inflation numbers at the wholesale and consumer level are due Wednesday and Thursday, and the week finishes with a look at industrial production in October.
- Finance ministers from the 17 euro countries are expected to debate Greece's economic reforms today at a meeting in Brussels. Greece is hoping for a new $40 billion bailout loan as it faces a bond repayment on Friday it cannot afford. Greek lawmakers approved the country's 2013 austerity budget early Monday, essential to unblocking the new payment.
- A new study shows China is leading a charge of international students at U.S. colleges and universities. The Institute of International Education finds that international enrollment grew nearly 6 percent last year, driven by a 23-percent increase from China. International students typically pay full out-of-state tuition, without financial aid.
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