Stocks are edging higher on Wall Street, closing out a volatile week. An upturn in manufacturing outweighed the threat of looming cuts to government spending. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 35 points at 14,089, overcoming an early loss of 116 points. The S&P 500 index rose 3 1/2 points to close at 1,518. The Nasdaq rose 9 1/2 points.
- Oil has fallen to its lowest level of the year on worrisome economic developments in the world's two largest oil-consuming nations, the U.S. and China. The price of crude fell 1.5 percent and is down 6 percent in two weeks. Benchmark crude for April delivery fell $1.37 to close at $90.68 a barrel in New York. Oil last closed below $91 in New York on Dec. 28.
- Investor Warren Buffett says last year was "subpar" for his company even after posting a 45 percent increase in profit, because the value of Berkshire Hathaway trailed the overall market. Berkshire's net income soared in 2012 to $14.8 billion, up from $10.3 billion the previous year, but most of the increase came from paper gains on its investments and derivative contracts. Without those gains, Berkshire's operating earnings advanced 17 percent to $12.6 billion, up from $10.8 billion in 2011.
- A federal judge in California is erasing nearly half of the $1 billion in damages that a jury decided Samsung Electronics should pay Apple in a high-profile trial over the smartphone and tablet computer patents. In an order issued today, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh also ordered a new trial on Apple's allegations that Samsung stole its ideas for more than a dozen different smartphones and tablet computers. The judge says the jury had made several mistakes in its deliberations.
- A former Chicago lawyer who participated in what authorities have called the largest tax fraud in history has been sentenced in New York to eight years in prison. Donna Guerin (GEHR'-in) was also ordered to pay $190 million in restitution besides the $1.6 million she agreed to forfeit when she pleaded guilty in September. The tax shelters were marketed from 1994 through 2004.
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