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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

May 22, 2012, 1:17 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

An encouraging report on the housing market nudged most stocks higher today. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36 points round midday. Stock indexes traded flat until the National Association of Realtors reported that Americans bought more previously owned houses in April, a hopeful sign for the housing market.

  • Facebook's newly public stock is sliding further on its third trading day as investors reconsider how much the social network is worth. Facebook fell $1.09 to $32.94 in late morning trading, after dropping as low as $30.98 earlier in the day. The latest price values the company at about $91 billion.
  • Fears of a slowdown in the global economy are pushing the dollar higher against most major currencies. Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Japan's credit rating, citing the country's ballooning government debt. Continuing uncertainty in Greece pushed shares on the Athens Stock Exchange to their lowest level in 22 years.
  • Google Inc. has completed its $12.5 billion acquisition of phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and says it's appointed a Google executive, Dennis Woodside, as the new CEO of the business. It is Google's largest acquisition ever, and pushes it deeper into cellphones.
  • A Democratic-controlled Senate panel has approved a $2.50 increase in airline security fees that would double the per-passenger fee for those taking nonstop flights. A similar move last year failed because of opposition by Republicans controlling the House. The current effort faces long odds in an election year.

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