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TMCNet:  AP Business NewsBrief at 5:35 p.m. EST

[November 19, 2012]

AP Business NewsBrief at 5:35 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Review: Gift guide to smaller tabletsNEW YORK (AP) _ The tablet computer is without a doubt the gift of the season _ just like it was last year. But if you resisted the urge in 2011, now is the time to give in. This season's tablets are better all around. Intense competition has kept prices very low, making tablets incredible values compared to smartphones and PCs. The first step in the buying process is to decide on the size of the tablet. They fall into two rough categories: the full-sized tablet, pioneered by the iPad, and the half-size tablet, epitomized by the Kindle Fire.


Steady US housing recovery is boosting economyWASHINGTON (AP) _ From purchases and prices to builder sentiment and construction, the U.S. housing market is making consistent gains. The latest evidence came in reports Monday that sales of previously occupied homes rose solidly in October and that builders are more confident than at any other time in 6 1/2 years.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini to retire in surprise moveSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Intel CEO Paul Otellini is retiring in May, giving the world's largest maker of microprocessors six months to find a new leader as it confronts two major challenges: a shaky economy and a shift toward mobile devices that is reducing demand for its PC chips. Although Otellini's impending departure was announced Monday, he notified Intel Corp.'s board of his retirement plan last Wednesday. The decision surprised Intel's board of directors, which had been expecting Otellini to remain CEO until the company's customary retirement age of 65. Otellini is 62.

Hostess lives another day to mediate with unionWHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Twinkies will live to see another day. Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union agreed on Monday to go into mediation to try to resolve their differences after a bankruptcy court judge concluded that the parties hadn't gone through the critical step. That means the maker of the spongy cake with the mysterious cream in the middle won't go out of business yet.

US stocks rise on hopes for budget deal, EuropeThe stock market finally shook its post-election slump. Investors seized on hope that Washington will reach a deal on the federal budget and drove stocks to their biggest gain in two months. A pair of strong corporate earnings reports also helped.

Unemployment may increase chances of heart attacksCHICAGO (AP) _ Unemployment hurts more than your wallet _ it may damage your heart. That's according to a study linking joblessness with heart attacks in older workers. The increased odds weren't huge, although multiple job losses posed as big a threat as smoking, high blood pressure and other conditions that are bad for the heart.

5 big US banks have cut mortgage balances by $6.3BLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Five of the biggest U.S. banks have cut struggling homeowners' mortgage balances by $6.3 billion, part of a total $26.1 billion in home loan relief provided under a landmark settlement over foreclosure abuses. More than 309,000 borrowers received some form of mortgage relief between March 1 and Sept. 30, according to a report issued Monday by Joseph Smith, monitor of the settlement.

Apple climbs; Topeka calls share sell-off 'insane'NEW YORK (AP) _ Shares of Apple jumped over 7 percent Monday, with one analyst calling a two-month sell-off in shares of the most valuable company on earth "insanely insane." After hitting an all-time of $705.10 on the day the company launched the iPhone 5, Apple's stock slumped into correction, and then into bear territory, down nearly 21 percent from that September high.

Lowe's 3Q net income climbs on fewer chargesNEW YORK (AP) _ Lowe's Cos.' said Monday that its third-quarter net income surged 76 percent, helped by lower costs and higher revenue, as the company's efforts to revamp its merchandise and prices appeared to be gaining traction. Its adjusted earnings without charges and its revenue both beat Wall Street forecasts. Its shares rose over 6 percent Monday.

Average US credit card debt per borrower up in 3QLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Americans cranked up their use of credit cards in the third quarter, racking up more debt than a year ago, while also being less diligent about making payments on time, an analysis of consumer-credit data shows. The average credit card debt per borrower in the U.S. grew 4.9 percent in the July-to-September period from a year earlier to $4,996, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Monday.

(c) 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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