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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

December 19, 2012, 1:28 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have lost ground today. The market has rallied during the month of December and investors are likely ready to wind down for the year soon.

  • Swiss banking UBS has agreed to pay $1.5 billion in fines for trying to manipulate a key interest rate that affects borrowers around the world.  Switzerland's largest bank said some of its employees tried to rig the LIBOR rate - short for London Interbank Offered Rate - in several currencies. The rate is set daily using information that banks provide and is used to price trillions of dollars in contracts around the world, including mortgages and credit cards.
  • There was a bit of a pause nationally in housing starts last month and analysts think Superstorm Sandy was a key reason why. The Commerce Department reports a 3 percent decline. October had seen the highest level of activity since the summer of 2008.
  • After a brisk start to the holiday shopping season, ShopperTrak says things have slowed a bit more recently. It has pared its forecast for holiday sales to a gain of 2.5 percent. That's down from the 3.3 percent gain forecast back in September.
  • Internet advertising hit a new high in the third quarter as marketers continued to shift money from print and broadcasting. A trade group says spending was up 18 percent during the period, compared to a year earlier. Internet advertising is more than double the amount seen for the nation's newspapers print ads.

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