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November 21, 2011 01:11 PM

Monday Afternoon Business Brief

The stock market has been falling sharply today.
At mid-afternoon, the Dow was down about 300 points or 2.5 percent.
  • A 12-member bipartisan panel appears close to failure on its assignment to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit by Wednesday. That could lead to broad, automatic cuts from military and social spending.
  • President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation to provide tax breaks to companies that hire unemployed veterans. It also repeals a 2006 law that would require the federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of their payments to contractors.
  • The National Association of Realtors says the number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose 1.4 percent last month. The level is considered low, but slightly ahead of last year's pace.
  • Property and casualty insurer Alleghany Corp. has agreed to buy the reinsurer Transatlantic Holdings. The cash-and-stock deal is valued at about $3.4 billion.

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