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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

December 27, 2013, 1:29 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief
  • An early surge is gone as the stock market flattens out after six days of gains. Trading has been quiet with many investors on vacation after closing out positions until the start of the new year. The Dow and the S&P have slipped into negative territory in afternoon trading, while the Nasdaq was off about 10 points.
  • Target says encrypted PIN data was removed along with customers' names and card numbers during the data breach that occurred earlier this month. But the company says it believes the PIN numbers are still safe because the information was strongly encrypted. It says the PIN can only be decrypted when received by its independent payment processor. The theft involved about 40 million credit and debit cards used at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
  • Federal unemployment benefits will come to a sudden halt for more than 1 million Americans this weekend. Analysts say the cutoff could hurt the economy with less money for consumers to spend. Families dependent on "emergency unemployment compensation" receive an average monthly stipend of $1,166.
  • One market strategist says, "interest rates are on a road back to normalcy after being artificially suppressed by the Fed." Karyn Cavanaugh with ING U.S. Investment Management says she expects the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to rise to about 3.5 percent by the end of next year. Today it climbed above the 3 percent mark.
  • Textron's chief says the aviation company's $1.4 billion purchase of Beechcraft Corp. will require "restructuring and optimization of costs." However, CEO Scott C. Donnelly says it hasn't been decided whether that means job cuts at Beechcraft's home base in Kansas or elsewhere. Donnelly acknowledged Friday that Beechcraft employees have been through a lot over the past few years and that the company's bankruptcy created uncertainty for customers.

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