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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

January 10, 2013, 1:46 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stocks are modestly higher on Wall Street amid mixed news on the economy. Among today's reports, the Labor Department said weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose last week by 4,000 to 371,000, the most in five weeks. The previous week's total was revised lower.
  • President Barack Obama has nominated White House chief of staff Jack Lew to replace Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary. Lew, who was budget director during the Clinton administration, is known as a tough bargainer. If confirmed, he will face three looming fiscal deadlines: raising the borrowing limit, averting automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs, and the expiration of a congressional resolution that has been keeping the government operating.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is requiring makers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the dosage of their drugs, based on studies suggesting patients face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness. The agency says new research shows that the drugs remain in the bloodstream at levels high enough to interfere with morning driving, which increases the risk of car accidents.
  • The largest franchisee of Burger King restaurants is paying $2.5 million to settle federal claims of sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the agreement with Carrols Corp. covers 89 female employees around the country. The settlement ends a 14-year lawsuit that was one of the most extensive in the commission's history. Carrols owns and operates more than 570 Burger King restaurants in 13 states.
  • The 15 biggest U.S. airlines were on time a bit more often in November. The Transportation Department says 85.7 percent of flights operated by the biggest airlines arrived on time in November. That's up from 85.3 percent in November 2011 and 80.2 percent last October, when Superstorm Sandy fouled up flights. Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time record and American Airlines had the worst performance, with one in every five flights running late.

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