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Market News: JPMorgan to Finalize Record $13 Billion Fine; China to Loosen Grip on Yuan


Home Depot continues to ride the housing recovery.

US stocks opened Tuesday's trading day just slightly lower despite a troubling report on global economic growth by the OECD.

US stock indices mostly declined yesterday, and most are starting off lower today. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 0.10% at 15,991 while the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 0.37% to 1,791.53. The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) declined 0.93% to 3,949.07.

The government reported today that the cost of employment in the third quarter rose slower than expected. Emploment costs were up 0.4% from the second quarter. Economists expected a 0.5% rise.

According to news reports, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) will agree today to a $13 billion settlement that would absolve it of all civil investigations of its sale of mortgage bonds on the federal level. This would be the largest settlement by a financial firm in US history, but doesn't include state suits, separate probes into the bank's dealings with Bernie Madoff, and bribery in China. Since 2010, the country's largest lender by assets has set aside $28 billion to cover legal costs, and has already doled out $8 billion.

Shares of Home Depot (NYSE:HD) opened 2.8% higher this morning after the company beat earnings expectations. The retailer, a bellwether for the housing market, earned $0.95 per share as revenue and comparable-store sales climbed 7.4% to $330 million.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) shares dropped 9.25% in the first few minutes of trading after the retailer released disappointing earnings. BestBuy swung to a profit of $0.12 per share, missing expectations by a penny. Revenue fell to $9.36 billion. Domestic same-store sales improved by 1.7% over the quarter.

Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) fell 4.5% in pre-market trading after declining 3.14% yesterday. Yesterday, the company reported that sales rose 36% year-over-year to $1.08 billion and its net loss narrowed to $124.4 million.

European equities declined today as the ZEW survey showed that German financial experts are more concerned about current conditions than previously thought, but more optimistic about the future. The current conditions index unexpectedly fell to 28.7 from 29.7 and business expectations rose to a four-year high of 54.6 from 52.8.

Auto sales in Europe rose 4.6% last month, helped by Spain's offer of a 1,000 euro-matching subsidy for trading in older vehicles for more fuel-efficient ones.

China's liberalization of financial controls is already being felt. The People's Bank of China will essentially stop regularly intervening in the forex markets to stabilize the renminbi. The central bank says that it will gradually allow the currency to strengthen against others. China will also relax limits on foreign investment and lower the reserve rate for deposit institutions.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development lowered its outlook for global growth for 2013 and 2014. It now expects the world economy to grow 2.7% this year and 3.6% in 2014.

This evening, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the Washington chapter of NABE. Tomorrow, we will see the minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting, where they opted to leave its level of asset purchases unchanged at $85 billion.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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