What's Happening Today
Japan has officially followed the Euro-zone into a recession, the Japanese government announced today. The country's gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 0.4 percent from July to September, marking the second consecutive quarter of negative growth. Japan was last in a recession in 2001.
Target earnings are out this morning before the bell and could set the mood for the market open this morning. Already, in Asia the markets were flat, with the exception of the DJ Shanghai Composite index, which was up 2.6 percent. The Nikkei was up 0.7 percent. In Europe, the picture is more decidedly downbeat, with the DJ Stoxx index down nearly 2 percent so far. London's FTSE is down 1.6 percent and Germany's DAX is down 2.1 percent.
Later on today, the House and Senate reconvene a lame-duck session in which Democrats will push for a bailout for the auto industry. Lawmakers are aiming for a vote on Wednesday, despite opposition from the White House and Republicans on the Hill.
This afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing with Neil Barofsky, who was nominated by President Bush on Friday to serve as special inspector general overseeing the $700 billion pot of money that Treasury is spending.
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