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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

June 29, 2012, 1:37 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have been surging today after European leaders agreed to a set of prescriptions aimed at easing their debt crisis. The Dow Jones was up more than 200 points in afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were seeing gains of better than 2 percent.

  • German media are calling it a political defeat, but Chancellor Angela Merkel is telling lawmakers it was a "sensible decision." At issue is the agreement forged at a European Union summit that will allow Europe's bailout fund to give money directly to a country's banks, without imposing strict austerity conditions on the government. Merkel tells Germany's parliament that help will still come with strings attached and is only aimed at helping countries whose financial stability is threatened by high interest rates.
  • The White House is pushing back against questions about whether President Barack Obama's health care law would mean new taxes for many people. Press secretary Jay Carney says the law will create a "penalty" that will affect about 1 percent of those who refuse to get health insurance. He says the penalty is modeled after the one put in place in Massachusetts when Republican Mitt Romney was governor.
  • Toyota's problems with unintended acceleration aren't going away. Federal safety regulators say they've asked the company to recall about 154,000 Lexus SUVs because their floor mats can trap the gas pedal and cause the vehicles to speed up without warning. The agency is also said it may investigate whether Toyota told the agency about problems quickly enough. The move adds the 2010 model year Lexus RX 350 and RX 450 to more than 14 million vehicles recalled globally.
  • Bernard Madoff's younger brother has pleaded guilty to charges he doctored records to cover up the disgraced financier's Ponzi scheme. Peter Madoff entered the plea Friday in federal court in Manhattan. He served as the former chief compliance officer at his brother's investment firm. He'll remain free on $5 million bail pending an Oct. 4 sentencing.

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