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Jan. 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM
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Stocks mixed Friday

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A market rally stalled Friday in New York as concern of the next phase of budget talks in Washington distracted Wall Street.

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average, which came close to a five-year high this week, added 6.01 points, 0.04 percent, to 13,602.03 in early afternoon trading.

The Nasdaq composite index shed 8.43 points or 0.27 percent to 3,127.57. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 0.12 points or 0.01 percent to 1,481.06.

The 10-year treasury note rose 10/32 to yield 1.849 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.3328 from Thursday's $1.3377. The dollar gained against the yen, hitting 90.02 yen from 89.87 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 2.86 percent, 303.66 points, to 10,913.30.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.36 percent, 22.05 points, to 6,154.41.

MSD Capital in talks for Dell acquisition

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- MSD Capital in New York is discussing a leveraged buyout of computer company Dell, sources told The New York Times.

MSD is the investment firm begun by Michael Dell, who founded the computer company 30 years ago, the Times reported Friday.

Dell, who began his computer company with $1,000, started the money management firm 15 years ago as a vehicle for investing his wealth and managing his philanthropic interests.

MSD is now a diversified investment firm. It was started with $400 million of Dell's money and is discussing a $20 billion leveraged buyout of the computer company although the deal could still fail to go through, the Times said.

Private equity firm Silver Lake would also be a party to the deal, as would other potential partners.

Financing the buyout would require Dell to include his 16 percent ownership of Dell, a stake worth about $3.5 billion.

2012 vehicle recalls topped 16.2 million

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. safety regulators said automakers made 586 recalls totaling more than 16.2 million vehicles in 2012, slightly more than 2011 but less than 2010.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said most of the recalls followed customer complaints, which numbered 41,912, up from 49,417 in 2011 and down from 65,765 in 2010, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

"The role of the consumer in influencing auto recalls cannot be underestimated. Consumers are the lifeblood of the recall process and recalls are often the direct result of a government investigation into consumer complaints," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

The NHTSA said there were 15.5 million vehicles recalled in 2011 and more than 20 million recalled in 2010.

Britain retail spending up ... and down

LONDON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Retail spending in Britain rose on a 12-month basis in December but it was down from November, the Office for National Statistics said.

The ONS said Friday the volume of retail sales rose 0.3 percent from December 2011 to December 2012 and the value of the goods sold on a retail level rose 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis over the same period.

The 12-month gain in quantity of sales was the lowest since December 1998, the ONS said.

The drag on gains was evident in December 2012 sales when both quantity and value dropped 0.1 percent from the preceding month.

The retail sector had only a slightly better end to the year in 2012 compared with the end of 2011.

Sales in December 2012 reached $13.68 billion, up from $13.52 billion in 2011, the ONS said.

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