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Monday Evening Business Brief

December 16, 2013, 5:15 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief

Corporate deals and some fresh evidence of a stronger economy are giving the stock market a boost. The Dow jumped 129 points today, while the S&P 500 gained 11 points. The Nasdaq rose 28 points. It's welcome news for investors after two weeks of declines in the market.

  • There have been protests against online retail giant Amazon.com today in Germany and in the U.S. More than 1,000 workers at Amazon.com in Germany walked off the job in a labor dispute. Just a few dozen people rallied in solidarity today outside the retailer's Seattle headquarters.
  • Bipartisan legislation to soften across-the-board spending cuts gained ground among Senate Republicans today, and Democrats expressed optimism it would gain the 60 votes needed to pass by week's end. Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Johnny Isakson of Georgia both announced they would vote to send the measure over a critical hurdle in a test vote set for tomorrow.
  • A Florida investment adviser and onetime Oregon gubernatorial candidate has been sentenced to six years in prison in a $13 million securities fraud scheme that prosecutors say capitalized on enthusiasm for shares of Facebook and other Internet companies about to go public. Craig L. Berkman of Odessa, Fla., was sentenced in federal court in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty in June to securities fraud and wire fraud and agreed to serve between eight and 10 years in prison.
  •  The Warner Bros. fantasy "Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" debuted at No. 1 at the weekend box office both domestically and internationally. The film earned $73.6 million in U.S. ticket sales, per final numbers for the weekend box office announced by studios. Though it took first place, "The Desolation of Smaug" fell short of its prequel's debut. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" opened this same weekend last year with $84.6 million.

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