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Thursday Evening Business Brief

January 3, 2013, 5:14 PM

Thursday Evening Business Brief
  • Stocks faded at the close of trading on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve revealed a split among its policymakers over how long to continue an economic stimulus program. Mixed holiday sales reports from retailers and the prospect of another fiscal fight looming in Congress over the debt-ceiling didn't help matters. The Dow finished down 21 points at 13,391. The S&P 500 lost three points and the Nasdaq lost 11.
  • The price of oil has drifted lower as euphoria over a U.S. tax deal cooled and traders focused on bulging crude supplies and lackluster demand. Benchmark crude for February delivery ended the day down 20 cents to $92.92 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
  • A report released today says holiday shoppers spent of $42.3 billion online in November and December, 14 percent more than in the same months a year ago. ComScore found that shoppers started the holiday season strong in November but a dip in consumer confidence hurt early December sales. Shoppers picked up spending in the final days of the holiday season.
  • U.S. auto sales hit a five-year high in 2012, as low interest rates, improving consumer confidence and some great new cars drew Americans into dealerships. Sales of new cars and trucks are expected to reach 14.5 million for 2012, up 13 percent from the year before. Sales are 40 percent higher than they were at the depths of the recession in 2009.
  • NBC is savoring a welcome gift: a holiday week ratings victory powered by Sunday night football. According to Nielsen figures, more than 30 million viewers tuned in to NBC on Dec. 30 to watch the Washington Redskins defeat the Dallas Cowboys. NBC says the NFL contest drew the biggest audience in 16 years for a regular-season prime-time game. For the final week of 2012, a rebounding NBC was No. 1 in total viewers and among the advertiser-favored young adult demographic.

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