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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

December 18, 2012, 1:33 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks are rallying as investors maintain a positive view of discussions in Washington regarding the "fiscal cliff". The Dow has risen more than 2 percent during December and is on track for a fourth straight year of positive returns.

  • The White House is defending President Barack Obama's proposal to set a higher threshold for tax increases than what he vowed to do during his presidential campaign. The White House says the president has moved halfway to meet House Speaker John Boehner on a "fiscal cliff" deal that raises $1.2 trillion in tax revenue, down from the $1.6 trillion Obama had initially requested.
  • For the nation's homebuilders, confidence has risen to the highest level in more than six years. Their trade group's index indicates the best market for newly built homes since the housing boom.
  • The Dillard's department store chain is paying $2 million to settle charges it violated federal disability law by requiring workers who took sick leave to reveal their medical conditions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says thousands of current and former Dillard employees who sought sick leave were forced to provide a doctor's note explaining they were being treated as well as the exact nature of their medical condition.
  • The broadest measure of the nation's trade deficit narrowed in the latest quarter to nearly $108 billion. That's down 9 percent from the previous quarter.

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