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Stock market news today, August 13, 2014: U.S. stocks were in the red on Tuesday as concerns about the European markets affected investor sentiment. Geopolitical hot spots in Ukraine and in the Middle East have led to an increased emphasis on reducing exposure to risk.
In New York and London, oil prices slipped on supply and demand concerns. First, the International Energy Agency slashed its 2014 global oil demand forecast. Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that U.S. producers had struck a near 30-year production high in July.
In positive news for the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said that the nation's budget deficit is 24% narrower this year than it was a year ago as a stronger economy helps revenue advance almost seven times faster than spending. Despite the high-fives around Capitol Hill, the United States is still more than $17 trillion in debt.
Here's what you should know to make your Wednesday profitable:
- Insider Influence: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. banks are lobbying lawmakers and regulators to delay implementation of the Volcker Rule by up to as many as seven years. The Volcker Rule, which is a central provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, would force banks to ban proprietary trading and force institutions sell investments in hedge funds, private-equity firms, and venture-capital funds or any other asset that they do not manage. Prominent U.S. banks that would be positively impacted by the delay, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) saw their shares on the rise in early market hours.
- Tax Hikes Fail: In an unsurprising consequence of its recent sales tax hike, the Japanese economy saw its largest quarterly GDP contraction since the 2011 earthquake that paralyzed the island nation. In the three months through June, the economy shrank an annualized 6.8% thanks mainly to a crash in consumer spending in the wake of the nation's sales tax increase that accompanied rising inflation and spikes in the standard of living.