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Morning Market Roundup: Markets Down on Budget Impasse, Treasury Dept. Scared to Call China a 'Currency Manipulator


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

China: The Treasury Department on Monday refused to label China a “currency manipulator” and said simply that the yuan “remains significantly undervalued” and needs to rise further, Bloomberg reports.

China “has substantially reduced the level of official intervention in exchange markets since the third quarter of 2011,” the Treasury said in a statement Monday.

“This report all but admits China’s currency is being manipulated, but stops short of saying so explicitly,” Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “The formal designation matters because there can be no penalties without it. It’s time for the Obama administration to rip off the Band-Aid, and force China to play by the same rules as all other countries.”

China has been criticized for deliberately suppressing the value of its currency, making its products cheaper in foreign markets and costing jobs in the U.S.

Markets: U.S. stock futures are heading lower along with overseas markets as obstacles blocking the way to a compromise on the U.S. budget grow.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 34 points to 12,828. The broader S&P futures have slid 4.9 points to 1,392.50. Nasdaq futures are down 7.5 points to 2,633.50.

Senate Democrats are divided over whether programs like Medicaid and Medicare should be part of the discussion as far as cutting the nation's debt load. But some argue that if Republicans agree to raise taxes in some areas, Democrats can't take such benefit programs off the table.

In early European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 5,785.40 while Germany's DAX lost 0.2 percent to 7,320.92. France's CAC-40 fell 0.3 percent to 3,491.36.

Spain: European Union authorities have approved the payment of €37 billion ($47.96 billion) in bailout loans to four of Spain's struggling banks -- provided each of them cut their loans and investments by 60 percent.

The plan cleared Wednesday by the EU Commission in Brussels will see Bankia getting €18 billion, Catalunya Caixa €9 billion, Novagalicia €5.5 billion and Valencia Bank €4.5 billion.

The €37 billion is part of a €100 billion credit line approved by the other 16 EU countries that use the euro to shore up banks hit by the country's 2008 property market collapse.

Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia said the aim was to restore the viability of the banks.

The banks are also expected to move €45 billion of their assets to Spain's recently set up bad bank, SAREB, a fund that aims to buy and turn around soured investments.

Costco: Costco plans a special dividend of $7 per share next month in addition to the regular quarterly dividend the wholesale club operator pays shareholders.

The Issaquah, Wash., company said Wednesday that the special dividend will be payable Dec. 18 to shareholders of record Dec. 10. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s regular quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share will be paid Nov. 30 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 16.

Costco also said Wednesday that its November revenue climbed nearly 9 percent to $8.15 billion. Revenue from stores open at least a year climbed 6 percent. The increase was 5 percent excluding gains from gasoline price inflation and stronger foreign currencies.

Revenue from stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Costco's shares rose 4.7 percent, or $4.49, to $101 in premarket trading.

Costco runs 618 warehouses in several countries, including 447 in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated.

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