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Business Update for 12/16/13

Business news for Monday, December 16.

The atmosphere during the 90th Lighting Of The New York Stock Exchange Christmas
The atmosphere during the 90th Lighting Of The New York Stock Exchange Christmas (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have broken through a slump, and have posted some strong gains today. The advance is powered by two big corporate deals, and a report suggesting the economy is getting stronger. The Dow is now ahead for a second straight trading day, reducing some of the losses from last week.

NEW YORK (AP) — Two major deals have the attention of investors today. Chipmaker Avago Technologies is buying LSI Corp. for $6.6 billion. And AIG is selling its aircraft leasing business for about $5.4 billion to a Dutch leasing company, AerCap.

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will invest $1.3 billion at five factories in three states so they can build higher-quality trucks and more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions. About $600 million will go to the Flint, Mich., assembly plant for a new paint shop. The plant makes full-size pickup trucks. An engine plant in Romulus, Mich., near Detroit will get $493 million to build a new V-6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmissions.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jurors in New Orleans have heard closing arguments in the trial of a former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company’s response to the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Mix didn’t testify at his trial on two counts of obstruction of justice. A prosecutor says he deliberately deleted messages to stymie a grand jury investigation. But a defense lawyer says the charges are “unfair and baseless.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two men have been sentenced in Rhode Island in a $46 million investment fraud that preyed on terminally ill people. Joseph Caramadre (kah-rah-MAH’-dray) was sentenced to six years in prison by a judge who said he didn’t seem to recognize the harm he caused. Raymour Radhakrishnan (RAY’-mohr rad-ah-KRISH’-nahn) was ordered to spend a year and a day in prison.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreigner buyers of U.S. Treasury securities increased their holdings for a third month in October, despite budget battles in Washington that shut down the government for 16 days that month. The Treasury Department says total foreign holdings edged up 0.01 percent in October to $5.65 trillion after a 1 percent gain in September. Holdings had fallen from April through July, likely reflecting concerns about rising interest rates. In October, holdings were 1.2 percent below the record high of $5.72 trillion reached in March.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration wants the makers of antibacterial liquid soaps and washes to not only prove that their products help prevent the spread of germs, but that they’re safe to use. The FDA says it’s revisiting the safety of chemicals like triclosan in light of recent studies suggesting they can interfere with hormone levels and spur the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department says productivity of U.S. workers grew 3 percent from July through September, and labor costs fell. Meanwhile, Wall Street futures are up solidly a day before the Federal Reserve opens a two-day policy meeting.

UNDATED (AP) — Traders are hoping to revive the rally that’s driven stocks to record highs. The rally paused last week because investors are concerned that stocks might be overpriced and the Federal Reserve may pull back its stimulus program. The Fed policy committee meets this week. The Dow rose 16 points on Friday. The S&P 500 fell less than a point and the Nasdaq was up 2 and a half points.

TOKYO (AP) — Overseas investors appear to be in a wait and see mode today, ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policymaking session later this week. A positive report from Japan’s central bank showing improved business sentiment didn’t seem to lift investors’ spirits as the Nikkei slipped 1.6 percent to 15,152.91. Other markets across the Asia-Pacific region also have been lower.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have been on an impressive run this year, but a new poll suggests Americans aren’t expecting it to continue in the coming year. The Associated Press-GfK poll finds 40 percent of those surveyed think the market will end up where it is now by the end of 2014, with 39 percent predicting that it will drop, but not crash. Among investors, 20 percent of investors say they plan to invest more heavily in the market in the coming year, 22 percent will pull back, and 57 percent plan to invest at about the same level as this year.

DETROIT (AP) — New York auction house Christie’s is expected to tell Detroit how much its impressive, taxpayer-bought art collection is worth this week. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said the bankrupt city may have to sell off works in order to help repay creditors, including retired public workers. A local philanthropist has pledged $5 million to offset expected losses by city pensioners. There is also a private campaign to raise $500 million to keep the artwork from being sold.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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