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TMCNet:  AP Business NewsBrief at 4:10 p.m. EST

[December 17, 2012]

AP Business NewsBrief at 4:10 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Stocks move higher as budget talks progressNEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street as Washington moves closer to a budget deal. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 100 points to close at 13,235 Monday, near its highest point of the day.


Millions face higher taxes real soon without fixWASHINGTON (AP) _ While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax increases scheduled to take effect next year, big tax hikes have already gone into effect for millions of families and businesses this year. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses expired at the end of 2011. If Congress doesn't extend them retroactively back to the beginning of this year, a typical middle-class family could face a $4,000 tax increase when it files its 2012 return in the spring, according to an analysis by H&R Block, the tax preparing giant.

Bangladesh probe: Fire sabotage, owner negligentDHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A Bangladesh government committee investigating the garment factory fire that killed 112 people last month said in its findings Monday that the blaze was sabotage, probably by someone who worked there. But the panel said that no matter who set the fire, the owner of the factory also should be punished for the deaths because he neglected worker safety.

Good time for pickup buyers as GM sweetens dealsDETROIT (AP) _ General Motors is offering generous deals on Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks after they piled up on dealer lots. GM is matching or beating discounts from rivals Ford and Chrysler this month. It miscalculated in November when it reduced incentives and truck buyers went looking elsewhere for sweeter deals.

Tropicana uses the carrot to squeeze juice salesNEW YORK (AP) _ Tropicana wants more people to drink its juice, so it's extending a carrot _ and a bushel of other vegetables. As sugar-conscious Americans continue to shy away from fruit juices, Tropicana is using vegetables for the first time in recent history with a new drink called "Farmstand" set to hit shelves next month. By marketing the juice as a way for moms to sneak some veggies into their kids' diets, the division of PepsiCo Inc. is betting that carrots and beets can give it a new avenue for growth.

White House: Gun violence is complex problemWASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House says curbing gun violence is a complex problem that will require a "comprehensive solution" including addressing gun control measures. Still, spokesman Jay Carney says gun control is not the only solution to stopping shootings like the horrific attack at a Connecticut elementary school Friday. He says no single piece of legislation or single action will fully address the problem.

Mass. fines Morgan Stanley $5M over Facebook IPOBOSTON (AP) _ Massachusetts officials say they are fining investment bank Morgan Stanley $5 million for disclosing a revenue shortfall with analysts and institutional investors but not the general public ahead of Facebook's troubled IPO in May. Facebook filed amended documents on May 9 with securities authorities, but Morgan Stanley organized phone calls with analysts to relay revenue figures that the amendments didn't include. Those numbers were lower than what many analysts had expected.

Economists forecasting moderate 2013 growthWASHINGTON (AP) _ Business economists believe the country will see modest growth in 2013 with strength coming from a further rebound in housing which will help offset weakness in business investment. In its latest survey of top forecasters, the National Association for Business Economics says it is looking for the economy to grow in 2013 by 2.1 percent after 2.2 percent growth in 2012. That would continue the same tepid growth the country has seen since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009.

Mistrial declared in case of watchdog groupWASHINGTON (AP) _ A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a watchdog group accused of violating federal law when it shared a whistle-blower settlement with a government economist 14 years ago. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly made the call after the eight jurors in the civil case could not come to a unanimous verdict. The Justice Department claimed that the Project on Government Oversight and then-government economist Richard A. Berman had violated a ban on supplementing the salary of an executive branch employee.

Sprint raises offer, to buy Clearwire for $2.2BNEW YORK (AP) _ Sprint, the country's third-largest cellphone company, said Monday that it will buy out the portion of wireless network operator Clearwire that it doesn't already own after raising its offer price to $2.2 billion. The deal would give Sprint control of a flailing affiliate, one it depends upon to provide high-speed "Sprint 4G" data services on some of its phones. It would increase Sprint's access to the airwaves, meaning it could boost data speeds in coming years. However, cell towers using Clearwire spectrum have poor range, making it difficult to provide broad coverage.

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

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