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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

February 21, 2013, 1:29 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

U.S. stocks are sliding for a second straight day. Oil prices are also plunging for a second day, raising hopes of a pause in the rise in gasoline prices. U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $2.24, or 2.4 percent, to $92.98 per barrel in afternoon trading in New York, the second drop of 2 percent in two days.

  • In the latest sign that inflation remains in check, consumer prices were flat in January from December for the second month in a row. The Labor Department says its consumer price index has risen 1.6 percent in the 12 months ending in January, down from a 2.9 percent pace a year ago.
  • Business and labor groups have announced agreement on a key priority for an immigration overhaul bill: creating a new system to bring lower-skilled workers to the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO reached consensus after weeks of closed-doors negotiations they were conducting at the request of two senators involved in crafting an immigration deal on Capitol Hill.
  • Five of the biggest U.S. banks say they have cut struggling homeowners' mortgage balances by $19 billion, as part of a total $45.8 billion in relief provided under a landmark settlement over foreclosure abuses. A report today by the monitor of the settlement says more than 550,000 borrowers received some form of mortgage relief between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. That translates to almost $83,000 per homeowner.
  • Ford says it will start making a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in Cleveland to keep up with growing demand in the U.S. The automaker will invest $200 million into its engine plant in Brook Park, Ohio, near Cleveland, and add 450 jobs starting next year. Ford now imports the motors from a plant in Spain.

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