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Dec. 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM
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Stock rise Tuesday

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes rose Tuesday on reports that lawmakers in Washington are closing in on a budget deal.

The New York Times reported that the philosophical quibbling between the White House and House Republicans over the 2013 budget was over and the numbers are close.

The National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday that business confidence among builders had risen modestly in December for the eighth consecutive monthly gain.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average added 110.31 points, 0.83 percent, to 13,345.70. The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 14.22 points, 0.99 percent, to 1,444.58. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 38.55 points, or 1.28 percent, to 3,049.15.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 94.13 points, 0.96 percent, to 9,923.01.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.4 percent, 23.75 points, to 5,935.90.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 14/32 to yield 1.825 percent.

The dollar rose to 84.16 yen, up from Monday's 83.89 yen. The euro rose to $1.3229 from Monday's $1.3163.

Equity firm to sell its gun making group

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management said the deadly assault on a school in Connecticut had prompted it to back out of its investment in gun makers.

The attack in Sandy Hook, Conn., left 27 dead, 20 of them school children ages 6 and 7.

Cerberus, which manages $20 billion assets, bought the maker of the rifle used in the shooting, Bushmaster, in 2006 and combined this with additional purchases of gun makers to form a company called Freedom Group, The New York Times reported.

On Tuesday, Cerberus said it would sell Freedom Group. In a statement, the investment firm said, "It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level."

Freedom Group had net sales of $677.3 million in January through September of 2012, a 20 percent increase over the same period of 2011, The New York Times reported.

The California State Teachers' Retirement System had already said it was reconsidering its investment in Cerberus, given the firm's investment in Freedom Group, the Times reported.

Judge rejects motion to ban Samsung phones

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Judge Lucy Koh has rejected motions filed in a patent dispute from U.S. technology giant Apple Corp. and from South Korean rival Samsung Electronics.

The case was already adjudicated last summer with a jury awarding Apple $1 billion to compensate the firm for patent violations involving 26 Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

In the latest two rulings, U.S. District Judge Koh rejected a request from Apple to have the 26 phones banned for sale in the United States, claiming the patent violations only involved a small portion of the technology that went into the devices.

In the other ruling, Koh rejected a motion from Samsung to have the verdict in the case dismissed due to a complaint that the jury foreman had already been involved in a patent dispute case.

The legal wrangling is not over. Apple has filed a second patent violation case against the South Korean company, this one based on Samsung's latest smartphone line up.

An Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet declined to comment on this week's ruling and Samsung did not respond to a request for a comment, the Times said.

Equity firm to buy Caribou Coffee

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn., Dec. 18 (UPI) -- German investment firm Joh. A. Benckiser Group said it had reached a deal with Caribou Coffee to buy the regional brand for $340 million.

Caribou Coffee has its company headquarters in Brooklyn Center, Minn., and runs 610 coffee shops in 22 states and 10 countries, the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.

The investment firm called JAB is known for purchasing luxury brands, such as Zagliani handbags and Calvin Klein fragrances, the newspaper reported.

JAB also bought Peet's Coffee and Tea for about $1 billion this fall.

"Caribou has a fantastic brand and unique culture, and fits perfectly with JAB's investment philosophy of investing in premium and unique brands in attractive growth categories like coffee," said JAB Chairman Bart Becht in a statement.

The deal, which requires shareholder approval, amounts to $16 per share, a 30 percent premium over the company's closing price on Friday.

But news of the deal pushed share values above $16 and three law firms said they would investigate the deal on behalf of shareholders.

Caribou President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Tattersfield said the deal could help the brand to grow.

"We anticipate the next chapter in Caribou's journey will be filled with tremendous opportunities to grow this great brand, with new ownership," Tattersfield said.

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