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European and Portuguese losses are dragging U.S. markets. Additional downward pressure comes from a delayed negative reaction to Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes released Wednesday, which revealed Fed plans to end its bond-buying program in October.
Here's a roundup of the the top stories affecting the stock market today:
- Slimming Down: Shares of Potbelly Corp. (Nasdaq: PBPB) plunged 17% in afterhours trading on news that the sandwich chain forecasts weaker-than-expected second-quarter sales. With more than 300 locations around the country – following an aggressive growth strategy – the company is attempting to shake up its menu in an effort to generate more store traffic.
- Default Nation: Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) ticked up in afterhours trading on news that global PC sales in the second quarter increased by 0.1%. The announcement is welcome news following two consecutive years of declining shipments.
- Banks Behaving Badly: Reuters broke the news late last night that German financial institution Commerzbank AG (OTCMKTS: CRZBY) will settle with U.S. regulators over charges that it violated sanctions against Iran and other nations. The bank will pay between $600 million and $800 million, according to the report. Despite the pending settlement, shares trading over-the-counter jumped more than 2% on Wednesday. The news came the same day that BNP Paribas pled guilty to breaking embargoes against Sudan, Cuba, and Iran and agreed to pay a $9 billion settlement.
- Deep Decline: The recent surge in oil prices has abated as geopolitical tensions subside and oil production comes back online in Libya and Iraq, two nations broiled in ongoing civil conflict. Yesterday, WTI crude for August delivery slipped more than 1% to $102.18 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, which is priced in London, slipped another $0.54 to $108.52. That's a steady decline from 2014 highs of more than $115 per barrel, which it hit in June.
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