The Dow and the S&P 500 are nearing their all-time closing highs, reached on Oct. 9, 2007. The Dow is about 282 points below its high and the S&P 500 is 65 points shy. Wall Street's rally took a pause yesterday. The Dow fell 14 points and the S&P 500 was off two. The Nasdaq rose four points. Futures are nearly unchanged this morning.
- International World stock markets posted modest gains Tuesday as the feel-good factor lingered from near-record highs on Wall Street and signs of an upswing in U.S. manufacturing. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $97 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro but fell against the yen.
- Federal Reserve policymakers today begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates. Also today, Standard & Poor's releases S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for November and the Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for January.
- A federal judge's ruling is expected today on a deal between BP and the government over the Gulf oil spill. Under the agreement, BP would plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties. U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance can either accept the deal or reject the sentence and allow the company to withdraw from the agreement. She'll hear testimony from relatives of victims.
- A report by a consumer group says a plan to save the government the cost of cutting paper checks to unemployment recipients is now costing jobless people millions of dollars in unnecessary bank fees. The National Consumer Law Center report says the fee-heavy cards are automatically issued by states that also require complicated paperwork or phone calls to set up direct deposit and fail to explain the card fees.
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