Fueled by gloomy economic data from around the world, the U.S. equity markets started Thursday off on the wrong foot. However, positive sentiment returned by the end of the day, sparked by strong business activity, and the markets closed on a relatively flat note.
At the close: DJIA: -0.07%, S&P 500: +0.07%, NASDAQ: +0.06%.
1) About $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next 9 years — $85 billion this year alone — will come knocking on America’s door on March 1. Congress has just over two weeks to reach a solution to the sequester, which President Barack Obama called “sudden, harsh, arbitrary,” and “a really bad idea” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Senate Democrats have put together a $110-billion proposal, a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases, that would delay the sequester for 10 months. Half of the cuts would come from defense spending. Additional revenue would be raised through the controversial Buffett Rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on incomes above $1 million… (Read more.)