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Wednesday Evening Business Brief

January 2, 2013, 5:28 PM

Wednesday Evening Business Brief
  • Washington's deal to head off the sweeping tax hikes and government spending cuts of the 'fiscal cliff' sent stocks roaring higher on Wall Street and around the world today. The Dow gained 308 points to close at 13,413, while the S&P 500 added 36 points and the Nasdaq climbed nearly 93 points.
  • The 'fiscal cliff' deal left many questions unresolved, including how to bring down the government's trillion dollar deficits. Now, Moody's Investors Service is warning Congress that it must come up with a deficit-shrinking plan soon, otherwise it risks losing the government's "Aaa" credit rating.
  • Environmentalists say the grounding of a drill ship in the Gulf of Alaska shows that oil companies are not ready to drill in Arctic Ocean waters, which are even more remote. Royal Dutch Shell's ship Kulluk ran aground in a fierce North Pacific storm Monday night. The Pew Environment Group says near hurricane-force winds are typical in the region, and marine mammals would be vulnerable to an oil spill. Shell says it will learn from the grounding and remains confident that it can operate safely in Arctic conditions.
  • Microsoft is again trying to convince government regulators that they need to crack down on Google to preserve competition on the Internet and in smartphone markets. Microsoft's deputy general counsel laid out its arguments in a blog post today. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe are wrapping up wide-ranging investigations into Google's business practices.
  • Wendy's no longer thinks a hamburger has to be 99 cents to be a deal. The fast-food company known is dumping its 99-cent value menu, replacing it with an array of options called "Right Price Right Size." They range from 99 cents to $1.99. Rising costs for meat, cheese and other ingredients already have prompted Burger King and McDonald's to move past the $1 price point, with similarly priced menus.

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