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Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief

January 2, 2013, 1:31 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Business Brief
  • The compromise on the "fiscal cliff" may have left a lot of unresolved questions, but it's been enough to send the stock market shooting higher. The major U.S. stock indexes swelled by at least 2 percent in early trading before trimming some of those gains. The Dow was still up more than 200 points in afternoon trading.
  • While investors appear to be celebrating the "fiscal cliff" deal, many economists are voicing concern over what's been put off. One says "nothing really has been fixed," referring to the lack of agreement on reducing federal spending and debt.
  • An auto industry research firm says an improving economy and a host of new models should push U.S. auto sales above 15 million this year. That would be about a 7 percent increase over 2012. The Polk research firm says auto sales should continue to lead the country's economic recovery.
  • MidAmerican Energy is buying two solar power projects under construction in Southern California. MidAmerican has agreed to pay between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for SunPower Corp.'s Antelope Valley Solar Projects, which are scheduled for completion in 2015.
  • Federal investigators say Exxon Mobil Corp.'s delayed response to a pipeline break beneath Montana's Yellowstone River made the spill far worse than it otherwise would have been. The July, 2011, spill fouled 70 miles of riverbank. The Department of Transportation says pipeline controllers could have kept the 1,500-barrel spill to 500 barrels if they had closed off the line as soon as problems emerged.

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