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December 30, 2014 02:00 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have been falling today as investors wrap up business ahead of the New Year. They're also watching financial markets in Greece. There are concerns that upcoming elections in Greece could be won by a left-wing party that is opposed to the country's bailout.

  • NEW YORK (AP) - Stock trading is expected to be quiet until the week after the New Year, when most of Wall Street is back from the long holiday weekend. Roughly 2.4 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, compared with the 3.5 billion typically traded on an average day.
     
  • More than 4 million people signed up for the first time or re-enrolled in marketplace health plans under President Barack Obama's health care law. The Department of Health and Human Services for the first time has released a 50-state report on the latest sign-up season. It says 3.4 million people selected plans using HealthCare.gov as of Dec. 15. More than 600,000 people selected plans in the state-run marketplaces through Dec. 13. The report doesn't include people who are being automatically re-enrolled in health plans.
     
  • SONOMA, Calif. (AP) - There's a mushroom boom in parts of Northern California. Recent heavy rains have brought about an explosion of both edible and poisonous mushrooms on land that was parched just a few months ago. The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports that it's especially been fruitful that the rains have been mixed with mushroom-friendly warm weather. Darvin DeShazer of the Sonoma County Mycological Association says the fungi are "popping out of the ground everywhere right now."
     
  • MADRID (AP) - Many small businesses in Madrid will have to soon close up shop because it's going to cost too much to pay the rent. Jan. 1 marks the end of rent controls that helped small businesses and preserved the historical identity of city centers by insulating them from property market pressures. About 200,000 mostly family-owned stores, bars and restaurants are affected by the law change that allows landlords to raise rents to whatever they want. About 55,000 of those businesses are expected to close down in the coming months.
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