It's a sulky day across markets so far, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) joining in an overall slump this morning. Some good economic news flowed from the Institute for Supply Management, showing that non-manufacturing economic activity in October rose 1 percentage point over that for the month prior, to 55.4% -- nine-tenths of a percentage point more than analysts had expected.
That uplifting tidbit could not drown out a pre-market report from the European Commission, though. That announcement effectively nipped in the bud any thoughts of a European growth spurt next year, as the EC trimmed its forecast on that score, while raising the specter of higher unemployment in 2014.
Banking sector of no help
Big banks Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) aren't helping the poor Dow, as both are firmly in the red by late morning. In a repeat of a common scenario these days, reports of the two Dow components, along with other big banks, are once again in the soup with regulators. This time, however, the rumpus is coming from across the pond.
After a two-year investigation, the European Commission will be levying fines on several international banks, including JPMorgan Chase, for manipulation of Euribor, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, according to Reuters. Fines should be announced next month for Euribor tampering and for manipulation of Libor by another group of banks, as well.
In other news, JPMorgan Chase's on-again, off-again $13 billion settlement with federal regulators seems to be back on, after a quiet time during which the parties seemed to disagree about whether the bank's $5.1 billion Federal Housing Finance Agency fine would be rolled into the larger settlement, among other things.
Goldman Sachs had an announcement of its own this morning. The firm has launched a $250 million fund, called the GS Social Impact Fund, which will invest in and underwrite socially important projects, such as a previous investment in a mixed-income housing building in New York's Harlem neighborhood, all while providing nice returns to its investors. Though this is definitely a positive thing, Goldman continues to stay in the red as the noon hour approaches.