Stocks take 'fiscal cliff' in stride
NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Investors shrugged off fears of a second recession Monday on the last trading day of 2012, despite a midnight deadline for averting the "fiscal cliff."
With no major economic data due for release, investors focused on Washington, where lawmakers had until the end of the day to cobble together and vote on a budget that would supersede a default budget with spending cuts and tax hikes so severe it has been predicted a recession could be triggered.
Major market indexes rose modestly in early afternoon trading. The Dow Jones industrial average added 60.98 points or 0.47 percent to 12,999.09. The Nasdaq gained 40.25 points, 1.36 percent, to 3,000.56.
The Standard and Poor's 500 added 12.72 points or 0.91 to 1,415.15.
The 10-year treasury note was off 17/32 to yield 1.761 percent.
The euro fell to $1.3193 from Friday's $1.3217. The dollar rose to 86.61 yen from 85.97 yen.
Markets in Japan were closed for a bank holiday.
In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 0.47 percent, 72.56, to 5,897.81.
Tribune Co. emerges from bankruptcy
CHICAGO, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Tribune Co.'s prolonged stay in bankruptcy court is over, said officials of the multimedia company that began as a Chicago newspaper.
The firm, which will remain a major print news publisher with the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers as part of the enterprise, is poised to focus much of its business on television stations. It operates 23 broadcasting stations and is set to hire Peter Liguori, a former television executive at Fox and Discovery, as its next chief executive officer.
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that the new owners of the 165-year old company include Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles, which will emerge with ownership of 23 percent of the equity and named two of the company's seven board members.
Angelo Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase own about 9 percent each and appointed one board member apiece.
The three shareholder groups then named two more board members jointly and reserved the seventh seat on the board for the new CEO.
More Canadians confident of finances
TORONTO, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Canadians' financial confidence is growing, with 70 percent feeling good about the year ahead, a 6 percent jump from a year ago, a poll indicates.
The CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima found residents of Ontario -- 74 percent -- and the Prairies -- at 75 percent -- are among the most positive in the country when it comes to their current financial situation.
More Canadians also are feeling better about their longer-term financial goals. The poll found 74 percent said they were confident they would reach their future financial goals, up 2 percentage points from last year.
More Canadians are also taking their own advice and setting goals for the year, with 61 percent of respondents saying they generally set financial goals for themselves, compared with 51 percent two years ago.
"Canadians are entering 2013 with a more positive outlook on their finances today, and with the confidence that they can reach their long-term financial goals," Christina Kramer, executive vice president at CIBC, one of Canada's largest banks, said in a statement.
Each week, Harris/Decima interviews more than 1,000 Canadians via teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey.
The survey of 2,009 Canadians between Oct. 25 to Nov. 4, had a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.
Italy tops U.S. 2013 travel wish list
NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- If time and money were no object, U.S. adults would like to travel to Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and France, a survey indicates.
The Fly.com survey questioned 875 U.S. travelers Dec. 1-13 about which countries they would most like to visit within North America, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania/Antarctica if money and time were not objects. All respondents were Travelzoo Inc. -- 25 million subscribers -- and Fly.com users.
"It is no surprise that Italy is at the top of America's wish list for 2013," Warren Chang, vice president and general manager of Fly.com, an airline search engine, said in a statement. "The destination conjures up images of romance, history and some of the finest food and wine in the world."
Italy was the clear standout in Europe, with twice as many respondents indicating that they wished to travel there over the United Kingdom and France combined, Chang said. At a regional level, a preference for travel to countries within Europe and Oceania resulted in the two regions accounting for nearly 60 percent of all responses.
Rounding out the Top 10 desired travel destinations were: the United States, Ireland, Spain, Fiji and South Africa.
North America was fourth in the regional rankings, Chang said.