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November 18, 2011 01:18 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are mixed at midday.
The market's indecisive performance so far today suggests the key averages will end the week with a decline.
  • Unable to agree so far on spending cuts, lawmakers are voting on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would force Congress to hold the fiscal line. The first House vote on a balanced budget amendment in 16 years comes as the so-called "supercommittee" has yet to show results in the mandate to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.
  • The FDA says the blockbuster drug Avastin should no longer be used in advanced breast cancer patients. The government says there's no proof that it extends their lives or even provides enough temporary benefit to outweigh its dangerous side effects.
  • New York authorities say an ambitious and organized identity-theft ring recruited waiters at steakhouses and other high-end restaurants to steal diners' credit-card information and then used it for luxury shopping sprees. Arraignments were continuing today with 27 people indicted on racketeering and other charges.
  • Officials in Medford, Oregon, have given the OK to place giant corporate logos on the control tower at the city's airport. Medford's City Council voted to amend the city code and allow 675-square-foot signs on all sides of the 100-foot-tall tower. The city is expected to get about $3,000 a month.

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