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Business Update for 12/18/13

Business news for Wednesday, December 18.

 A Delta airlines plane sits at the gate in LaGuardia Airport
A Delta airlines plane sits at the gate in LaGuardia Airport (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street as investors wait to find out whether the Federal Reserve will start dialing back its stimulus. The Fed ends a two-day meeting today. Reports of a healthy housing sector and jobs market have been boosting stocks — while also raising the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will reduce its bond-buying program.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s fresh evidence that the housing recovery is accelerating despite higher mortgage rates. The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on homes last month at the fastest pace in more than five years. Construction of single-family homes jumped 21 percent, while apartment construction soared 26 percent.

DETROIT (AP) — Ford expects 2013 to go down as one of the best financial years in its history, but its outlook for 2014 has investors concerned. The automaker says pretax profit for this year should total about $8.5 billion. And it expects 10 percent revenue growth, improved market share in all regions except Europe and stronger cash flow than a year ago. But Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks tells analysts that pretax profit will decline to between $7 billion to $8 billion next year, excluding special items.

CHICAGO (AP) — Archer Daniels Midland confirms that it’s moving its global headquarters to Chicago. But the agribusiness giant says it could still set up a new technology center in another state after failing to win millions in tax breaks. The company says it will move a small corporate team of about 50-75 employees to Chicago but, at least for now, not the 100 more jobs that were to come with the technology center it had planned for the same site.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Delta Air Lines says it won’t allow passengers to make voice calls from its planes. CEO Richard Anderson says the airline’s frequent fliers believe that voice calls in the cabin would disrupt the travel experience. Delta says a majority of customers in a survey last year said the ability to make voice calls would make their experience worse, not better. He also says Delta employees, particularly in-flight crews, are against allowing calls during flights.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — World stock markets are mostly higher, with overseas investors calmly waiting for word from the U.S. Federal Reserve on when it will start reducing its monetary stimulus. Japan’s Nikkei closed 2 percent higher, while other Asian markets mostly rose. Europe’s benchmark indexes also are seeing gains, while U.S. stock futures suggest a higher opening on Wall Street.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is expected to give final congressional approval today to a bipartisan budget bill aimed at easing some of the pain of mandatory budget cuts while averting interruptions in the business of government. The legislation has passed the House and it has been sent to a final vote in the Senate after surviving a procedural hurdle yesterday.

CHICAGO (AP) — Two people with knowledge of its plans say that the Archer Daniels Midland Company will move its global headquarters from Decatur to Chicago. The deal could be announced later today. Sources say it calls for relocating 60 to 75 employees and doesn’t involve tax incentives, which the agribusiness giant initially had sought from Illinois lawmakers.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Paint makers could face a surge of lawsuits after a California state court judge ordered three companies to pay $1.1 billion to help government agencies get rid of lead from an estimated 5 million homes in the state. The ruling was a rare loss for an industry that had turned back some 50 lawsuits filed nationwide over the last 25 years. The legal push was designed to win billions of dollars from the industry to remove lead-based paint from homes built before the federal government banned the product from the U.S. market in 1987.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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