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Monday Morning Business Brief

December 31, 2012, 6:54 AM

Monday Morning Business Brief

The House and Senate will spend at least part of New Year's Eve in session waiting from some sort of deal they can vote on to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of big tax hikes and steep spending cuts. There are still unresolved issues as negotiations continue.

  • Stocks fell for a fifth day Friday on concern that Washington lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal before a year-end deadline. The five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average was the longest since July. The Dow lost 158 points to close at 12,938 Friday. The Standard & Poor 500 index fell 15 points and the Nasdaq dropped 25 points. Futures trading suggests gains at this morning's opening.
  • With just hours left before the U.S. hits the "fiscal cliff," international investors sold off stocks to lock in profits just in case budget negotiations in Washington fail. Some Asian markets are closed for the New year's holiday. Benchmark crude oil for February delivery rose to near $91 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and was unchanged against the yen.
  • It's a deal that could head off a possible doubling of milk prices next month. Sunday the top leaders in both parties on the House and Senate Agriculture committees agreed to a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that expired in October. House leaders have not yet set a vote while considering shorter term bills.
  • Ford says it expects to sell 2.2 million vehicles this year, with the Ford Focus being its most popular model. The Dearborn, Mich., company says it is the second year in a row it will sell more than 2 million cars. It sold more than 737,000 Ford Focuses through September and over 560,000 Fiestas.

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