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Jan. 3, 2013 at 6:34 PM   |   Comments

Stock rally fades

NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. markets started low, turned around, and then slipped again Thursday, closing in the red despite a positive jobs report.

Stocks gained momentum after Automatic Data Processing Inc. said 215,000 private sector jobs were added to the economy in December, far more than economists had predicted.

By close of trading, after two sessions of sharp gains, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 21.19 points, or 0.16 percent, to 13,391.36. The Nasdaq gave up 11.70 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,100.57. The Standard and Poor's dropped 3.05 points, 0.21 percent, to 1,459.37.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,721 stocks advanced and 1,343 declined on a volume of 3.7 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note was off 23/32 to yield 1.921 percent.

The euro fell to $1.3041 from Wednesday's $1.3185. The dollar rose to 87.50 yen from 87.34 yen.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.33 percent, 19.97, to 6,047.34.

Markets in Japan were closed.


Chrysler leads U.S. rivals in sales gains

DETROIT, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Major U.S. and foreign automakers posted sales gains with Chrysler reporting a 10 percent jump in December over December 2011.

Chrysler led the sales gain among U.S. auto companies for December. General Motors sales rose 4.9 percent from December 2011, while Ford Motor Co. sales climbed 1.9 percent from a year earlier.

USA Today reported Thursday that Volkswagen posted a sales gain of 35.4 percent in December with 44,005 vehicles sold. VW's sales surge was attributed to a strong performance by the Volkswagen Passat, which more than doubled from a year earlier and the Jetta, its most popular model in the United States.

Toyota and Hyundai also saw sales growth with Toyota sales up 9 percent in December and Hyundai up 17 percent.

Chrysler did well with strong sales of the new Dodge Dart. Five other Chrysler models, the Fiat 500, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Journey and Ram Cargo Van each set individual sales records in the month, the newspaper said.


Macy's to close 6 stores, open or expand 9

CINCINNATI, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. retail giant Macy's Inc. said it would close six stores in 2013 and open or expand nine others.

The retailer said it would shutter its Bloomingdale's Fashion Show Mall Home Store in Las Vegas at the cost of 35 jobs, but expand its Macy's presence in Fashion Show Mall with the addition of 65 jobs there.

Macy's said it was closing stores in Paseo, Colo., Belmont, Ma., Honolulu, St. Paul, Minn., and Houston.

The retailer said it was part of normal operations to close under-performing stores and expand in locations that showed promise.

The store closings would result in 634 job losses. But the retailer is gaining personnel overall, as it said the new locations would mean the creation of about 1,320 jobs.

Stores would open or expand in Victorville, Calif., Gurney Mills, Ill., the Bronx, Sarasota, Fla., Las Vegas, Bay Shore, N.Y., Glendale, Calif., and Palo Alto, Calif.

Macy's said same-store sale rose 4.1 percent in December, which was a respectable gain, although it fell shy of company expectations.

Sales reached $5.1 billion for the five weeks ending Dec. 29, a 3.6 percent increase over the same period of 2011.

For November and December, same-store sales rose 2.5 percent, Macy's said.

"While the rate of growth was somewhat less than we had expected in the first two months of the fourth quarter, it came amid some significant headwinds from uncertain economic news and the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy," Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy's Inc., said in a statement.

"All said, we are proud of our accomplishments in driving growth this holiday season and we believe we continued to gain market share," Lundgren said.


U.S., Google settle antitrust matter

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Trace Commission says Google, in a settlement, has agreed to change its business practices following a two-year antitrust investigation.

Under the agreement Google's competitors will gain access to standard-essential patents while advertisers will have more flexibility to use rival search engines, an FTC release reported Thursday.

Google agreed to change some practices competitors had charged could stifle competition in the markets for popular devices such as smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles, as well as the market for online search advertising, the FTC said.

"The changes Google has agreed to make will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of competition in the online marketplace and in the market for innovative wireless devices they enjoy," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. "This was an incredibly thorough and careful investigation by the commission, and the outcome is a strong and enforceable set of agreements."

For several years Google has been presenting its own products, like its Google+ social network, in search results for websites featuring local business listings, airline schedules and weather reports, which has often pushed competitors' listings lower on search results pages, bringing criticism by rivals and even Congress.

"Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers," Beth Wilkinson, an outside counsel to the Commission, said. "However, the FTC's mission is to protect competition, and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google's actions in this area stifled competition in violation of U.S. law."

Google still faces a parallel investigation by regulators in the European Union, where antitrust laws are much tighter.

Google is expected to offer some concessions to EU officials later this month.

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