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Markets close flat

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. market gains evaporated Monday with investors concerned about financial discussions in Europe.

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Markets posted gains in Italy, Germany, France and Britain after Germany held a successful auction of short-term bonds. In Berlin, however, International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde warned the $600 billion rescue fund for debt-burdened nations in Europe needed to be doubled. She warned that a rescue of Italy or Spain, should one become necessary, could lead to a major global depression.

By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 11.66 points, 0.09 percent, to 12,708.82. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 0.62 points, 0.05 percent, to 1,316.00. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 2.53 points, 0.09 percent, to 2,784.17.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,760 stocks advanced and 1,269 declined on a volume of 3.6 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 1/32 to yield 2.056 percent.

The euro rose to $1.301 from Friday's $1.2931. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 76.99 yen from Friday's 77.02 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index fell 0.01 percent, 0.46, to 8,765.90.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.94 percent, 54.01, to 5,782.56.

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Auto show a sign of industry resurgence

DETROIT, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Attendance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit was well above expectations, the event's chairman said.

The attendance record is more than 800,000, set in 2003, said event chairman Bill Perkins, who also owns several auto dealerships.

The Detroit News reported Monday it was predicted 725,000 people would attend this year, during the nine-day run that is open to the public.

Instead, 770,932 showed up, Perkins said.

"People want to feel good again about the industry, which is now obviously in a better place than it was a few years ago," he said.

"A lot of people counted Detroit down and out, but it has been a major year for the auto industry and our show," Perkins said.

Perkins said the show's economic impact was "huge … better than the Super Bowl."

The show, which draws visitors from near and far, has an estimated $400 million impact on southeastern Michigan, the newspaper said.


States consider rolling the dice

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Politicians choosing to give Las Vegas a run for its gambling revenues might find now is a good time to push the concept, an economics professor said.

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"People want jobs and they don't want higher taxes. Legalizing casinos can be argued to create jobs and tax revenues," said Douglas Walker at South Carolina's College of Charleston.

Walker, author of "The Economics of Casino Gambling," said pushing a casino project is "easy politically right now," USA Today reported.

In Florida, a state panel approved a measure that would create three new casinos in the state. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is advocating for an amendment to the state's constitution to permit casino gambling.

Massachusetts is also in the mix with a new law that allows for three casinos in the state. Politicians in Illinois are attempting to bring casino gambling to Chicago.

While frowned upon as a vice, gambling is seen as a surefire formula for creating jobs in construction and at resorts and for putting money into state coffers.

"States see an uptick in revenues when they expand gambling. That doesn't mean they become more fiscally stable," said Robert Ward, deputy director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

It remains to be seen how much a casino in Boston might draw business away from Las Vegas, but even if the effect is minimal, the cumulative effect of a dozen new casinos around the country could begin to add up.

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"The world is not going to collapse next year, but it's not great news (for Vegas) over the next five or 10 years," said William Eadington, a gambling industry expert at the University of Nevada at Reno.


RIM replaces top two executives

WATERLOO, Ontario, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Canadian electronics giant Research in Motion named Thorsten Heins to replace co-chairmen and co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.

The New York Times reported the company's share of the smartphone market that RIM pioneered has fallen from almost half to 9 percent from 2009 to 2011.

The precipitous drop came as RIM was unable to fend off rival Apple and its remarkably successful iPhone, as well as a vast variety of phones that jumped on the Google Android system bandwagon.

While Apple was redefining the digital landscape with its iPhone and iPad, RIM came out with a tablet called the PlayBook that had fundamental flaws, like the failure to include an e-mail system. RIM's efforts to update its BlackBerry phone with a new operating system has run into delays and is not expected until the end of 2012.

Heins joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 and became chief operating officer for product and sales last August.

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Lazaridis, a co-founder of the company will become vice chairman and director of the firm's innovation committee, a board function."There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership," he said Monday in a statement.

Balsillie will remain a company director.

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