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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

January 3, 2014, 1:34 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are little changed on the day after the market saw its first opening-day-of-the-year slump since 2008. It's been a quiet week on Wall Street and trading has been muted today as a winter storm hit the Northeast.

  • Numbers released by U.S. automakers show sales slowing a bit in December. But analysts still expect the best annual performance in six years for the auto companies, once all the figures are in. Ford sales were up just 1.8 percent in December but rose 11 percent for the full year. Chrysler and Nissan sales were up 9 percent for the year, while sales for GM and Toyota rose 7 percent.
  • President Barack Obama plans to press Congress to reinstate long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans when he returns to Washington next week. Obama will hold an event at the White House Tuesday, where he'll warn of negative consequences for the economy if Congress fails to act quickly. The White House says Obama will be joined at the event by Americans whose benefits expired in late December.
  • A journalist and business author who was known to TV viewers as Adam Smith has died. George Goodman was 83. He was the host of "Adam Smith's Money World" on PBS stations -- a show that helped make economics accessible to millions of people.
  • The Super Bowl is still about a month away, but the ad blitzes are already beginning. Pepsico plans to promote the halftime show it is sponsoring in a TV ad airing tomorrow. The commercial is part of a larger campaign by the beverage giant aimed at driving awareness for the show during the 48th annual big game on Fox on Feb. 2, featuring singer Bruno Mars.

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