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Business Update for 12/4/13

Business news for Wednesday, December 4.

New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market has opened lower after a strong employment report raised expectations that the Federal Reserve could pull back on its economic stimulus. A private survey showed U.S. businesses last month added the most jobs in a year. More signs of a strengthening economy and improving jobs market could persuade the Fed to reduce its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses last month added the most jobs in a year, powered by big gains in manufacturing and construction. Payroll processor ADP says today that companies and small businesses added 215,000 jobs in November. And ADP says private employers added 184,000 jobs in October, much stronger than its initial estimate of 130,000. The Labor Department reports on November job growth Friday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. service sector firms grew in November at the weakest pace since June, evidence that cautious spending by consumers and businesses may be slowing growth. The Institute for Supply Management says its service-sector index fell to 53.9 in November, from 55.4 in October. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. A measure of sales fell sharply last month, a sign that consumers were reluctant to spend. And a gauge of hiring fell to the lowest level since May. That suggests job gains could slow when the government reports last month’s hiring figures on Friday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans ramped up new-home buying in October after cutting back in September, signs of a fitful housing recovery. The Commerce Department says today sales of new homes grew 25.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 444,000, the largest monthly percentage increase since May 1980. New-homes sales have risen 21.6 percent higher in the 12 months ending in October, but well below the benchmark 700,000 consistent with a healthy market. Prices fell 4.5 percent to $245,800 from October to September, a potential sign of greater affordability.

WASHINGTON (AP) — More good economic news: The U.S. trade deficit fell in October. The Commerce Department says today the trade gap narrowed to $40.6 billion in October, or 5.4 percent lower than the September gap. America’s energy boom led exports to an all-time high of $233.3 billion. A smaller trade deficit can boost economic growth.

NEW YORK (AP) — It couldn’t last forever. The stock market pullback long anticipated by investors may have arrived after eight straight weeks of gains. Stocks fell yesterday, dragged lower by the Detroit automakers and consumer-focused companies such as GameStop and The market could be headed for its first weekly decline since early October. Futures point to a possible slight gain at this morning’s opening.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — International stock markets put in a patchy performance today with Japan suffering a sharp fall, as investors continued to worry the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon start reducing its monetary stimulus. European benchmarks made modest gains in early trading. Benchmark crude oil rose above $97 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The country gets a new snapshot of how trade is going and the condition of the housing market. Those are among the key economic reports being issued later this morning. Later today, the Federal Reserve will release its so-called “Beige Book,” a survey of business health in states and localities across the country.

BRUSSELS (AP) — There are more disturbing economic signs out of Europe. Figures released today from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, show retail sales across the region fell a monthly 0.2 percent in October. That follows a 0.6 percent decline in September. And financial information company Markit says its gauge of business activity, the purchasing managers index, fell in November. The reports could be signs that the economic recovery in the 17-country eurozone is losing steam.

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — India’s refusal to budge on food subsidies has reduces the chances that an eleventh-hour agreement can be reached to boost global trade at a World Trade Organization summit in Indonesia. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman says if there’s no agreement, it “would deal a debilitating blow to the WTO as a forum for multilateral negotiations.”


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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