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Wednesday Morning Business Brief

December 5, 2012, 5:35 AM

Wednesday Morning Business Brief

Stocks slipped in light trading in the latest session. The Dow fell nearly 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to finish at 12,952. The S&P 500 dropped 2 points to close at 1,407, while the Nasdaq was down nearly 6 points to 2,997. Futures trading suggests gains this morning.

  • International stock markets rose today as investors became increasingly convinced that U.S. political leaders will reach a budget deal that avoids a major hit to the world's No. 1 economy. Chinese shares soared on hopes for more stimulus measures. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $89 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but rose against the yen.
  • On today's economic calendar, the Labor Department releases third-quarter productivity data. The Commerce Department releases October factory orders, while the Institute for Supply Management reports on the status of the service sector for November.
  • The nation's largest port complex will be getting back to business today. Striking clerical workers have reached a tentative agreement, which means thousands of dockworkers who refused to cross picket lines will be going back to their jobs moving cargo at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The eight-day strike prevented shippers from delivering billions of dollars in cargo.
  • An annual report on government corruption finds that the same countries hardest hit by the European recession are also perceived as the most corrupt. Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index shows Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece with the lowest scores in western Europe. The countries seen as most corrupt were Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan.

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