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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.

You can find the latest business news on the Back to Business page of KELOLAND.com.

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