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November 22, 2011 01:14 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief


The stock market is seeing small gains after earlier losses. Investors were put off by word that the government lowered its estimate of economic growth in the latest quarter. Higher borrowing costs for Spain also renewed worries about Europe's debt crisis.
  • Regulators say bank earnings rose over the summer to their highest level in more than four years, while the number of troubled banks fell for the second straight quarter. The FDIC says the banking industry earned $35 billion in the third quarter. That's up from nearly $24 billion in the same period last year. More than 60 percent of banks reported improved earnings.
  • The Labor Department reports unemployment rates fell in three-quarters of U.S. states last month, a sign that many parts of the country are experiencing modest job gains. Jobless fell in 36 states in October, rose in only 5 and unchanged in 9 states.
  • The failure of a special deficit-reduction supercommittee is setting up a year-end battle between President Barack Obama and a Congress over renewing a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for millions. At the same time, the debt panel's failure triggers deep, automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget, beginning in 2013, which some lawmakers want to stop.
  • Greece's two largest labor unions will hold a 24-hour general strike to protest next year's austerity budget. It would the first major walkout since the appointment of an interim coalition government earlier this month.
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