Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Dec. 4:
1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing to slight gains on Wall Street on Wednesday, despite a sharp decline for Japanese equities amid worries over a reduction to stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 2.2% to 15,407.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8% but China's Shanghai Composite rose 1.3%.
European markets rose modestly early Wednesday.
2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the ADP Employment Change Index for November at 8:15 a.m. EST, the trade balance for October at 8:30 a.m., new-home sales for September and October at 10 a.m., and the ISM Services Index for November at 10 a.m.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Tuesday extended recent losses as equity traders struggled to gauge the direction of the U.S. economic recovery.
The S&P 500 fell 0.32% to close at 1,795.15, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.59% to 15,914.62 and the Nasdaq slipped 0.2% to 4,037.20
The banks to be fined are Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank (DB), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report), Barclays (BCS) and Societe Generale, sources said.
The penalty is the biggest to be handed down to banks or rigging the benchmarks used to determine the cost of lending, Reuters noted.
5.-- U.S. regulators are expected to approve next week a toughened version of the Volcker rule, with restrictions on the trading banks can do with their own money, The Wall Street Journal reported.
7.-- Sears (SHLD) Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert reduced his stake in the retailer to less than half, according to a regulatory filing. Lampert now owns 48.4% of Sears, or 51.6 million shares, down from his prior stake of 55.4%. Lampert remains the largest shareholder in the department store chain. 8.-- General Motors (GM) said Wednesday that it and its venture partners sold sold 294,500 vehicles in China in November, a 13.3% increase from a year earlier. GM sold 2.89 million vehicles over the first 11 months of 2013, up 11.4% from last year.
10.-- A New York state parole board agreed Tuesday to release former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski on parole after more than eight years in prison for his conviction in a $134 million corporate fraud case.
His tentative release date is Jan. 17, though Kozlowski has been in the state's work-release program with a clerical job and, for months, only reporting back twice weekly to minimum-security Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem, The Associated Press reported.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel