New York Stock Exchange (Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock market indexes are hitting major round-number milestones. The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 16,000 for the first time early Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose past 1,800, then dipped slightly. In afternoon trading, the Dow was up nearly points, trading above 16,000. The S&P 500 index up, but just barely, trading below 1,800. The Nasdaq composite has been lower, though it is near the 4,000 level. Still, the Nasdaq is well below its record high of 5,048 reached in March 2000. Stocks have risen sharply this year as the U.S. economy improves, companies report bigger profits and the Federal Reserve keeps up its economic stimulus program. Boeing rose the most in the Dow after booking $100 billion in orders at the Dubai Airshow.

U.S. homebuilders' confidence in the housing market held steady this month, but many are worried that another fight over the federal budget could cause would-be buyers to put off home purchases. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index stayed at 54 this month. October's reading was revised one point lower from its initial estimate. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. A measure of current sales conditions was unchanged. Builders' outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months fell one point. Most builders are optimistic that the housing recovery will endure. Still, many expressed concerns that sales could falter if lawmakers fail to reach a budget deal early next year and shut down the government again.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign buyers of U.S. Treasury securities increased their holdings in September, suggesting many shrugged off budget battles in Washington to keep investing in U.S. debt. The Treasury Department says total foreign holdings rose 1 percent in September to $5.65 trillion. That follows a 0.03 percent gain in August. Holdings had fallen from April through July, possibly reflecting concerns about rising interest rates. In September, holdings were 1.2 percent below the record high of $5.72 trillion reached in March. China, the largest foreign buyer of Treasury debt, boosted its holdings 2 percent in September to $1.29 trillion. Japan, the second-largest buyer, increasing its holdings 2.5 percent to $1.18 trillion. An impasse over the budget led to a 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government in October.


PITTSBURGH (AP) — Investor David Tepper has given $67 million to Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. Tepper is a Carnegie Mellon alumnus and the founder of New Jersey-based Appaloosa Management. The school says in a Friday release that the gift will help fund a new 295,000 square foot building for its school of business, and other initiatives on a 4.5 acre site that will be called the Tepper Quadrangle.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A central New Jersey man has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in what authorities say is one of the largest tax-refund fraud schemes ever uncovered. Manual Rodriguez had pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to defraud, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. The U.S. attorney's office says the 50-year-old New Brunswick resident was a part of an operation that filed more than 8,000 fraudulent tax returns that caused a loss to the government of more than $12 million.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Motorists are seeing stable prices at the pumps in New Jersey. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in New Jersey on Friday was $3.12, the same price as last week. But that's still much lower than the price from a year ago, when motorists were paying $3.61. The national average price was $3.20, down a penny from last week. That's also lower than the national average from a year ago, when motorists were paying $3.44.

UNDATED (AP) — Federal health officials say that defects in some Medtronic devices used in heart procedures are severe enough that they could cause serious injury or death. The warning covers about 15,000 recalled guidewires, which are inserted through an artery and used to guide other devices into place, such as stents to hold open blocked arteries. A recall of the guidewires began Oct. 21. The Minneapolis company said the recall affected certain lots made since April.