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Monday Evening Business Brief

December 3, 2012, 5:35 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief

Stocks lost ground after a surprisingly weak manufacturing report heightened concern that fiscal deadlock in Washington is already hurting the economy. The Dow fell 60 points to close at 12,966. The S&P dropped nearly 7 points, while the Nasdaq shed 8 points.

  • House Republicans are proposing a new 10-year, $2.2 trillion blueprint to President Barack Obama that calls for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits. The proposal from House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans comes in response to Obama's offer last week to hike taxes by $1.6 trillion over the coming decade but largely exempt Medicare and Social Security from budget cuts.
  • Superstorm Sandy gave a boost to already strong U.S. auto sales last month. Most major companies, from Toyota to Chrysler, posted impressive increases compared to a year earlier. Only General Motors was left struggling to explain its 3-percent sales gain and large inventory of unsold trucks.
  • The price of crude reached the $90 level this morning for the first time since October, but that level wasn't sustained. Oil closed up 18 cents at $89.09.
  • A Delaware judge is approving a $110 settlement in a shareholder lawsuit challenging Kinder Morgan's $21 billion acquisition of El Paso Corp. The deal created the country's largest natural gas pipeline operator.

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