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Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

January 15, 2013, 1:23 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Stocks are lower on Wall Street amid rising tensions over increasing the country's borrowing limit. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders in a letter late yesterday that the U.S. government will reach its borrowing limit as soon as mid-February, earlier than expected. And Fitch Ratings is warning that the United States could lose its top credit rating if there's a delay in raising the debt ceiling.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new search feature called "graph search," which lets users search their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places. Facebook users will now be able to look for people who live in a specific city and share a specific interest. But to protect privacy, they'll only have access to content that has been shared with them.
  • The National Retail Federation says holiday sales rose 3 percent. That's below the trade group's forecast of a 4.1 percent gain. Non-store sales, including includes online sales, rose 11 percent. The season was marked by heavy discounting in its final days as stores tried to unload excess goods after shoppers held back on spending.
  • U.S. home prices continue to recover from the housing bust. Private data provider CoreLogic says home prices rose 7.4 percent in November compared with a year ago, the biggest year-over-year increase in 6½ years.
  • Fiat, Chrysler and a Chinese automaker have signed an agreement to expand manufacturing in China. The companies say the next step for their joint venture is to build Jeeps in China for the Chinese market. The agreement was signed at Chrysler headquarters in suburban Detroit.

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