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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

December 20, 2013, 1:34 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Wall Street could be looking at its biggest year since 1997. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard and Poors 500 index are pushing further into record territory today after the government raised its estimate for third-quarter economic growth. The S&P 500 is up 27 percent so far this year. The Nasdaq is also climbing.

  • Hiring appears to be picking up across the country. The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell or were unchanged in all 50 U.S. states in November. Employers added jobs in 43 states and cut jobs in just seven. California, Texas and Indiana reported the largest job gains.
  • The Senate has cleared the way for Janet Yellen to become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve. Senators voted 59-34 today to end debate on her nomination. But the actual vote to confirm her isn't expected until Jan. 6, the day the Senate returns from winter recess.
  • A retired corporate and government turnaround specialist has been confirmed as head of the Internal Revenue Service. John Koskinen takes over an agency that's trying to recover from scandal and gearing up for a big role in implementing the president's health care law. He'll serve a five-year term.
  • Ariad Pharmaceuticals has received approval to relaunch its leukemia drug after addressing safety concerns raised by federal regulators. The company is adding new warnings to the drug's label about potential blood clots and the risk of heart failure. It's also revising information on which patients should receive the drug, Iclusig. Ariad shares have jumped 20 percent.

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