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Tuesday Morning Business Brief

December 18, 2012, 5:53 AM

Tuesday Morning Business Brief

Stocks surged strongly Monday. The Dow rose 100 points to 13,235. The S&P added 17 points to 1,430, while the Nasdaq jumped 39 points to 3,011.

  • Asian stock markets ended mostly higher today, boosted by signs that China's recovery is gaining traction and hopes for a new stimulus in Japan. In early trading in Europe, shares in Germany and France are up. Wall Street is set to gain with Dow and S&P 500 futures both up 0.3 percent.
  • Oil extended its rise above $87 a barrel today amid optimism American leaders can reach a budget deal and avoid automatic tax and spending cuts that might dampen growth and crimp demand for crude. Benchmark oil for January delivery was up 44 cents at $87.65 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 47 cents to close at $87.20 on Monday in New York.
  • Toyota has been slapped with a more than $17 million fine by the U.S. government for failing once again to quickly report problems to federal regulators and for delaying a safety recall. The $17.4 million fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the fourth fine levied against Toyota in the past two years for similar infractions. And it's a tiny fraction of Toyota's earnings - a $3.2 billion profit in the third quarter alone.
  • Six dollars a gallon for milk? Some farmers and consumers fear it's possible if Congress doesn't take action soon on a farm bill. The old one expired in September. The agriculture industry is hoping farm legislation can be added to any fiscal package before the end of the year or that the existing law could be extended. If not, the way milk prices are set reverts to a 1949 law, which would see dairy prices surge.

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