Wednesday Afternoon Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories that Moved Markets

Beginning the day on wobbly feet, the markets found strength late in the morning and closed in positive territory across the board. After flirting with them so much, the S&P 500 and Dow are close to being in an official relationship with record highs. The Nasdaq is at its highest level since 2000.

At the close: DJIA: +0.49%, S&P 500: +0.15%, NASDAQ: +0.33%.

Here are three stories that helped shape the markets today:debt

1) The House of Representatives passed a short-term increase to the debt ceiling. The measure, proposed at the end of last week and anticipated to glide through the GOP-controlled House, will make its way to the Democratically-controlled Senate, where leaders have said they will pass it without alteration. From there, President Barack Obama has indicated that he will also sign the bill.

A short-term fix has removed a lot of tension from the markets, but spending cuts still remain in focus for the short term, and the debt crisis facing America will take years to resolve. Market participants can only hope that Congressional leaders will use this opportunity to avoid a damaging last-minute solution… (Read more.)

Markets are at 5-year highs! Discover the best stocks to own. Click here for our fresh Feature Stock Pick now!

HAUPTSITZ SCHWEIZER BANK2) Per a formal recommendation from the European Banking Authority on Wednesday, thirty-nine large European Union banks must draft thousand-page documents known as “living wills” by the end of 2013 that will explain to regulators their precise plans for recovery and risk management in the event of an economic crisis. This marks increased international efforts to avoid another situation like the 2008 financial crisis by focusing on those banks considered “too big to fail” — banks so interconnected that their failure would warrant government intervention… (Read more.)

3) Home prices in the United States logged another gain in November, but fell short of estimates, according to the latest Federal Housing Finance Agency report.

The agency’s index showed that prices increased 0.6 percent in November from October on a seasonally adjusted basis, slightly below the 0.7 percent average estimate of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey. For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. prices gained 5.6 percent. The FHFA index is back to 2004 levels, but still remains 15.2 percent below its April 2007 bubble peak… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: Apple’s Mixed Results Send Some Investors Running.