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Monday Evening Business Brief

December 9, 2013, 5:33 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief
  • The stock market is back at a record high after a big acquisition in the food industry. Traders are hoping that a budget deal can be reached in Washington, which also would help the market go up. Sysco rose the most in the Standard & Poor's 500 index today after it announced an agreement to buy rival US Foods for $8.2 billion. Stocks extended a rally from Friday that was driven by a report of solid U.S. job gains last month.
  • A Florida congressman lost $18 million in a scheme that cheated him and more than 100 other people out of money. Florida Democrat Alan Grayson should have been able to cash in on tens of millions of dollars in returns on his stock portfolio, but prosecutors say the Virginia man behind the scheme sold the stocks out from under Grayson when they should have been kept as loan collateral. William Dean Chapman was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for cheating 122 investors out of more than $35 million.
  • Americans' wealth reached an all-time high this summer, buoyed by record-setting stock prices and a healthy recovery in home values. The Federal Reserve says U.S. net worth rose 2.6 percent to $77.3 trillion in the July-September quarter. Net worth reflects the value of homes, stocks, bank accounts and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts. Greater net worth can create a "wealth effect," which boosts economic growth by encouraging more households to spend. The wealthiest 10 percent of households own about 80 percent of stocks.
  • Massachusetts has reached a $265 million settlement with a mining company over allegations that it misrepresented its safety record in an effort to artificially inflate its stock price after a deadly 2010 explosion at a West Virginia mine. The Pension Reserves Investment Management Board oversees public pension investments in Massachusetts. It was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit brought by investors against Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc, former known as Massey Energy Co.
  • The Rev. Al Sharpton says civil rights leaders and representatives from major retailers have hammered out a customer "bill of rights" that will be posted in stores and online to help prevent racial profiling. The retail chains included representatives from Barneys, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and The Gap. The agreement prohibits profiling and unreasonable searches. It states that workers who violate their employers' prohibition on profiling will be disciplined and could be fired.

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