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The stock markets dramatic reversal yesterday from a gain of as much as 1.5% to big losses reflected the lack of conviction and confidence among investors as crude oil’s unabated slide stoked fears of global deflation. The steep downdraft came as the market was enjoying a rally underpinned by better-than-expected earnings from Alcoa, and hopes that ECB is close to providing quantitative easing. (CNBC)

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank, reported a 6.6% drop in quarterly profits, hit by legal costs of nearly $1 billion. The bank's profits fell to $4.93 billion in Q4 from $5.28 billion last year. Revenue fell 2.8% to $22.51 billion. (Reuters)

The National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index increased in December to its highest point since October 2006.

The gain in December was broad-based with the only subindex to decline was expected business conditions. It fell after a big November gain. (Wall Street Journal)

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