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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

November 8, 2012, 1:38 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have been slipping, but not as dramatically as yesterday. Investors continue to express worries about the potential for gridlock in Washington over the fiscal cliff, that package of tax hikes and spending cuts that will go into effect unless a budget compromise if reached by the end of the year.

  • The Federal Reserve has given JPMorgan Chase a go-ahead to start buying back its own stock. The bank suspended its plan to buy back $3 billion of stock in May, after a surprise trading loss that grew to more than $6 billion. Buybacks are popular with stockholders because they increase a company's earnings per share for the stock still held by the public.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says losses from Superstorm Sandy could total $33 billion in his state alone. The region was hit by another nor'easter last night, adding further misery as residents continue to clean up and utility crews struggle to restore power.
  • McDonald's is reporting its first monthly drop in sales in nearly a decade. The world's biggest hamburger chain says sales at restaurants open at least a year fell 1.8 percent in October. Meanwhile, rival Wendy's continues to struggle through a turnaround. The company says its net loss widened to more than $25 million in the third quarter, though it says sales are picking up.
  • Samsung's Galaxy S3 has overtaken Apple's iPhone 4S as the world's best-selling smartphone for the first time. Strategy Analytics says the S3 shipped 18 million units in the third quarter of this year, compared to about 16 million of Apple's iPhone 4S. The Galaxy's number one ranking is likely to be short-lived, though. The iPhone 5 sold an estimated 6 million units in the third quarter, after being on sale for just nine days.

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