Here’s what’s shaking:
Eastman Kodak will receive about $525 million from the sale of its digital imaging patents, money the struggling photo pioneer says will help it emerge from bankruptcy protection in the first half of next year.
The Rochester, N.Y., company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January after struggling to adapt to the shift to digital photography.
Eastman Kodak Co. says the deal will help it repay a substantial amount of its initial debtor-in-possession loan and satisfies a key condition of new financing that required the sale of the patents for at least $500 million.
U.S. Housing Starts
U.S. builders broke ground on fewer houses in November after starting work in October at the fastest pace in four years.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that builders began construction of homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That was 3 percent less than October's annual rate of 888,000, the fastest since July 2008.
Housing starts fell 5.2 percent in the Northeast in November compared with October. And compared with a year earlier, starts are down nearly 26 percent in the Northeast, the only region to record a drop in the past year.
Still, housing starts were 21.6 percent higher last month than in November 2011. And permits rose to 899,000, the most since July 2008.
FedEx, the world's second-largest package delivery company, posted a 12 percent decline in second-quarter profits Wednesday due to weakness in its air network and the impact of Superstorm Sandy.
The storm shaved 11 cents per share off of earnings for the quarter as shipping volumes fell and costs rose.
The company maintained its forecast for the full fiscal year ending in May, counting on a massive cost cutting plan to offset global economic weakness. Its forecast for the current quarter, which incorporates the critical holiday season, falls below Wall Street expectations.
FedEx Corp. posted earnings of $438 million, or $1.39 per share for the quarter that ending in November, compared with $497 million, or $1.57 per share, a year ago. That fell shy of the $1.41 per share that Wall Street was expecting, according to a poll of analysts by FactSet.
Revenue rose to $11.1 billion from $10.6 billion previously, as the company scaled back its operation to better match demand and some of its raised rates. Analysts forecast revenue of $10.84 billion.
As of this writing, oil and U.S. stocks are up:
Optimism over the prospects of a U.S. budget deal between the White House and Congress buoyed markets once again on Wednesday.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.6 percent at 5,972 while Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent at 7,676. The CAC-40 in France was 0.5 percent higher at 3,667.
Wall Street was poised for a steady opening, with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.
The perky mood was also evident in the currency markets - the euro was up a further 0.4 percent at $1.3270, near its highest level since early May.
Earlier in Asia, stocks did well too, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index up 0.6 percent to 22,623.37 and Shanghai's main index of Chinese shares closing flat at 2,264.30.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index was the start turn, surging 2.4 percent to close at 10,160.40, the first time the benchmark has closed above 10,000 since April 3.
The price of oil rose past $88 a barrel Wednesday as a key measure of German business optimism showed a slight improvement and a report suggested a big drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for January delivery was up 62 cents to $88.55 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the contract added 73 cents to close at $87.93.
In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, was up $1.06 to $109.90 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Oil prices were also supported by a drop of 4.1 million barrels in U.S. crude stocks, as reported by the American Petroleum Institute. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration will issue its own set of data - the market benchmark - later Wednesday.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.