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Tuesday Evening Business Brief

November 15, 2011, 5:45 PM

Tuesday Evening Business Brief
Led by technology issues, stocks finished with modest gains. The Dow added 17 points or 0.1 percent to 12,096. The S&P was up 6 points, while the Nasdaq surged 29 points.
  • Congress is considering ending the practice of paying million-dollar bonuses to executives at government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The House Financial Services Committee approved legislation to suspend tens of millions in Fannie and Freddie executive compensation packages, stop future bonuses and align their salaries with other federal employees who make much less. The vote was 52-4, with strong support from both parties.
  • Congressional bargainers have agreed to increase the size of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration in a compromise being hailed by the housing industry but criticized by conservatives. With the deal among House and Senate negotiators, the FHA would be able to insure mortgages worth up to $729,750 in expensive regions of the U.S. for the next two years. By law, that ceiling had dipped to $625,500 on Oct. 1.
  • Oil prices climbed to near $100 per barrel on encouraging news about the U.S. economy. Benchmark crude rose $1.23 to settle at $99.37 per barrel in New York. That's the highest close since late July.
  • An Omaha, Nebraska, man's online petition asking Target to drop plans to open stores at midnight Thanksgiving Day has garnered tens of thousands of signatures in less than two weeks. Anthony Hardwick works part-time as a cart attendant for a second job. The 29-year-old launched his petition Nov. 3 after learning of the chain's plans to have employees report for work at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. He says the opening means that workers will have to miss holiday gatherings in order to get enough rest to work.

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