Last Update on December 11, 2013 08:29 GMT
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Asian stocks were mostly down today as investors factored in the prospect of the Federal Reserve reducing its lavish monetary stimulus this month.
After the U.S. reported stronger-than-expected employment figures last week, markets became convinced the Fed would start to taper off its stimulus. The central bank's $85 billion of monthly bond purchases have kept U.S. interest rates low to encourage economic recovery but also sent a flood of money into stock markets worldwide in search of higher returns.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $98.50 a barrel. The dollar gained slightly against the euro and fell against the yen.
WASHINGTON (AP) --Among the major business and economic events scheduled for later today, the Treasury Department releases the federal budget for November. This comes as House and Senate negotiators in Congress have reached agreement on a plan to restore about $63 billion in automatic spending cuts and replace some of them with savings from future-year cuts.
The agreement would ease the harshest spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic agencies for a second year. And it would require federal workers to contribute more to their pensions, increase premiums on companies whose pension plans are insured by the federal government and increase security fees paid by airline travelers.
Also on Wednesday, President Barack Obama meets with college presidents and business leaders to discuss college costs, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the health care law and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testifies about the international finance system.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A report by the Pew Research Center paints a mixed picture about gender equality in the workplace.
It finds that young American women now earn 93 percent of what men do in comparable positions.
At same time, the study found that women still face discrimination and express as much pessimism as their mothers and grandmothers.
Women under 32 now have higher rates of college completion than men that age. But the analysis of census and labor data shows that by the time they hit their mid-30s, women's hourly earnings will slip further behind men.
The widening gap is due in part to the many women who take time off or reduce their hours to start families. Other factors cited in the report are gender stereotyping, weaker professional networks and women's hesitancy to aggressively push for raises and promotions.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A judge in Delaware has given preliminary approval to a plan to sell failed electric-vehicle maker Fisker Automotive, despite expressing concerns that the company's bankruptcy case was moving too rapidly.
Judge Kevin Gross in Wilmington granted interim approval of the disclosure statement describing Fisker's bankruptcy plan and the process for soliciting votes from unsecured creditors after attorneys for the creditors assured him they agree with the current case schedule.
Fisker had planned to build cars at a former General Motors plant in Delaware. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last month, ending a long, downward spiral that began after it received a $529 million loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy.
DETROIT (AP) -- Mary Barra has spent the past three years as General Motors' product chief, making cars that drive better, last longer and look good in showrooms.
Now she will take on an even bigger job. On Tuesday, the board tapped the 33-year company veteran to be the next CEO, making her the first woman to lead a major car company.
Barra replaces Dan Akerson, who moved up retirement plans by several months to help his wife, Karin, battle advanced cancer.
When Barra starts her new job Jan. 15, she will lead a company that's made nearly $20 billion since emerging from bankruptcy in 2010, much of it from the cars and trucks she helped develop.
BP OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal judge has refused to declare a mistrial in the case of former BP drilling engineer charged with obstruction of justice following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a filing Tuesday, defense lawyers for Kurt Mix said prosecution questioning of witness Wilson Arabie on Monday improperly raised issues of whether Mix ordered copies made of spill-related documents in order to eliminate possibly incriminating hand-written notes made in some of the margins.
The defense said prosecutors were barred by an earlier court order from raising that issue.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled Tuesday that he would instruct jurors to disregard the testimony. However he declined to declare a mistrial.
FISHER-PRICE BABY SEAT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An advocacy group is criticizing Fisher-Price for selling a baby bouncy seat with an attachment where parents can insert an iPad so baby can watch video content.
Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has started an online petition campaign urging Fisher-Price to recall its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPads.
Fisher-Price says its Apptivity Seat is not meant to be seen as an educational product for children.
The bouncy seat's attachment has colorful toys that dangle so a baby can reach and grab. The case where a parent could insert an iPad has a large mirror for the baby to see its face when there's no iPad. In its product description, Fisher-Price says parents can download apps to their iPads with soothing sounds and high-contrast patterns that help infants develop tracking skills.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- California is one of at least a half-dozen states vying for Boeing's attention as the aircraft giant selects a production site for its new 400-seat 777X jetliner.
A deal to bring the facility to California could create thousands of jobs and resuscitate the once-vibrant Southern California aerospace industry.
Company spokesman Doug Alder Jr. says that Boeing Co. solicited bids from a number of states in November, and bidders have until mid-December to act. He says Boeing began receiving replies this week and will begin reviews in several days.