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Nov. 30, 2012 at 6:21 PM
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Markets mixed at the close

NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Friday as the U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in October.

Personal incomes and disposable incomes were both flat in the month. The Bureau of Economic Analysis said Hurricane Sandy disrupted work, which derailed payroll gains that may have turned into spending.

By close of trading Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average was flat, adding 3.76 points or 0.03 percent to 13,025.58.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index lost 1.79 points or 0.06 percent to 3,010.24. The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 0.23 points or 0.02 percent to 1,416.18.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,664 stocks advanced and 1,348 declined on a volume of 3.9 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note was yielding 1.619 percent.

The euro rose to $1.2985 from Thursday's $1.2979. The dollar rose to 82.46 yen from 82.12 yen.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.48 percent, 45.13 points, to 9,446.01.

Britain's FTSE 100 index dropped 0.06 percent, 3.48 points, to 5,866.82.

Ford earns 'Green Car of the Year' award

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Green Car Journal said U.S. automaker Ford's 2013 Fusion vehicles were the top green cars of the year.

The magazine bestowed its Green Car of the Year prize to the Fusion lineup at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The award was given for high mileage, low carbon dioxide emission and affordability.

The Fusion lineup includes the plug-in hybrid "Energi," which has been given a fuel efficiency rating of 100 mpg. The gas-powered version is rated at 47 mpg.

Ford's Fusion beat out the four others nominated for the award -- The Dodge Dart Aero, the Mazda CX-5 SKYACTIV, the Toyota Prius and the Ford C-MAX.

Notable panelists choosing the winner included "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno and Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Retailers ask Obama to help end LA strike

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The National Retail Federation has asked the White House to force striking clerical workers at Southern California ports to return to the bargaining table.

About 800 members of a unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union went on strike Tuesday at the largest terminal at the Port of Los Angeles and the strike spread Wednesday to 10 of the 14 cargo terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. Union truckers and longshore dock workers are refusing to cross the picket line.

The union says management is shifting work away from its members to workers in other countries who are paid lower ages.

Cargo terminal officials say no jobs are being outsourced and accuse the union of promoting featherbedding -- bringing in temporary workers unnecessarily.

The clerks' strike affects 600,000 other workers and is causing an estimated economic disruption of $1 billion per day, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"An extended strike this time could have a greater impact considering the fragile state of the U.S. economy," NRF Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama. "The two sides must remain at the negotiating table until a deal is reached."

No talks have been held since Monday.

Paul Bingham, an economist with consulting firm CDM Smith, told the newspaper a long strike threatens to cause extensive damage to the economy.

"Retailers will have stock outages, lost sales for products not delivered," he said. "There will be shutdowns in factories, in manufacturing when they run out of parts."

Ray Ortiz Jr., a member of the ILWU Coast Committee said the union believes "it's in the long-term interest of the Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor area to retain these good local jobs."

Negotiator Stephen Berry, representing port managers, told a news conference the striking clerical workers are "irresponsible."

He said management has offered a contract that provides "absolute job security," average annual compensation of $195,000 by 2016 -- up from $165,000 currently -- 11 weeks' paid vacation and pension improvements.

Eurozone jobless rate hits record 11.7

BRUSSELS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The unemployment rate in the 17-member eurozone rose to a record in October, climbing to 11.7 percent after a month at 11.6 percent, Eurostat said Friday.

The official data office for the European Union said the larger, 27-member European Union posted an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent in October.

"In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with October 2011, when they were 10.4 percent [in the eurozone] and 9.9 percent [in the European Union]," Eurostat said.

The data agency said 25.9 million men and women in the EU, including 18.7 million in the eurozone, were unemployed in October, an increase over September of 204,000 in the EU and 173,000 in the eurozone.

The unemployment rate rose in 12 EU countries from September to October and dropped in Ireland, Austria, Lithuania, Romania, and Sweden.

The rate was unchanged in six other nations, with data unavailable from Latvia, Greece, Estonia, Hungary and Britain.

The highest unemployment rate in the EU is Spain's 26.2 percent.

Eight other countries are listed with unemployment rates above 10 percent: Portugal 16.3 percent, Ireland 14.7, Slovakia 14, Cyprus 12.9, Lithuania 12.4, Italy 11.1, France 10.7 and Poland 10.4.

The lowest unemployment rate in the EU among reporting countries was posted by Austria at 4.3 percent. Luxembourg was at 5.1 percent and Germany at 5.4 percent.

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