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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) slumped back below 16,000 this morning, possibly due to some disappointing economic news from China. While retail sales were excellent, overall investment slowed there in November, as did lending. The slowdown is likely part of China's new consumer-driven economy, which is expected to benefit the country over time.
Here at home, news that American households have regained much of the wealth lost during the Great Recession should bode well for the economy, though the Dow doesn't seem particularly impressed.
Still, the big banks are doing their part to prop things up today, with Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) rising 1.4% and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) gaining close to 0.21% by noon. Today is important for the biggest U.S. banks, as federal regulators huddle in Washington to discuss implementation of the Volcker rule, which would keep banks from using their own money when making trades.
Snowstorm may delay things a bit
Despite inclement weather in and around Washington, several U.S. agencies are discussing the rule, which both JPMorgan and Goldman have lobbied against over the past few years. According to MarketWatch, both the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve have signed off on the rule well before noon.
This leaves the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission still to weigh in. The CFTC canceled its own meeting today because of the weather, and both SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar and SEC member Daniel Gallagher have said that they will vote against the rule -- each apparently feeling that more time is needed for a thorough review of the 800-page document.
Analysts have noted that Goldman Sachs would be hit hard by the rule, since a large proportion of its revenue stems from trading activity. Fixed-income trading, in particular, brings in more than one-quarter of total revenue.
As the lunch hour approaches, however, Goldman stock remains strong even as the Dow drops further, perhaps signaling that investors aren't as worried about the big bank as analysts are.
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