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Asian stocks fell on Wednesday on growing concerns about the health of the world's banks, particularly in Europe, pushing investors into safer assets such as the yen, which stood near a 15-month high versus the dollar. Spreadbetters expected the pessimism to carry over into Europe, forecasting a slightly lower open for Britain's FTSE (.FTSE), Germany's DAX (.GDAXI) and France's CAC (.FCHI). Japan's Nikkei (.N225), which tumbled more than 5 percent Tuesday, suffered another bruising session and slid to a 16-month low.
U.S. President Barack Obama proposed a $4.1 trillion spending plan for fiscal year 2017 on Tuesday in a final White House budget that met immediate Republican resistance for its cost and reliance on tax hikes to fund domestic priorities. Obama, a Democrat who leaves office next January, sought to outline his fiscal and political vision for the country with proposed investments in infrastructure, cyber security, education, and job growth.
Twitter's shares have lost more than two-thirds of their value in the past 12 months. "I think the problem is that in the current market any sign of a weak outlook will be quite harshly punished," Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell said. Investors want to see Chief Executive Jack Dorsey's strategy to reignite growth in user numbers.
WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will defend the U.S. central bank's first rate hike in a decade and likely insist that further rises this year remain on track, albeit at a slower pace, when she addresses Congress on Wednesday. Yellen, who is certain to be grilled by lawmakers on whether the economy really is ready for higher rates, will point to continued strong jobs growth even as financial markets have all but priced out any rate hikes this year and as signs of stress in the global financial system have re-emerged amid volatile markets. The Fed Chair also is likely to find herself in heated exchanges with lawmakers over the bank's perceived secrecy, with presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle now taking regular shots at the Fed on the campaign trail.
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Crude oil prices pushed higher on Wednesday after Iran said it was open to cooperation with Saudi Arabia, partly recovering from an 8 percent fall in the previous session on concerns over demand and weak equities. Prices were supported by comments from Iran's oil minister that Tehran is ready to negotiate with Saudi Arabia over the current conditions in global oil markets. The International Energy Agency (IEA), meanwhile, said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is unlikely to cut a deal with other producers to reduce ballooning output.
BMW reported a 7.5 percent rise in monthly car sales to 152,879 vehicles in January, as growth in Europe and China more than offset a slide in the United States, where winter storms deterred car buyers. ...
Investors nervous about the future prospects for Disney and other older media companies sent its shares down 3.5 percent to $89.21 in after-hours trading. The media networks unit that includes ESPN, the Disney Channels and ABC recorded a 5.6 percent decline in operating income to $1.41 billion. Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger offered a spirited defense of ESPN on a conference call, describing an "uptick" in customers in the last couple months.