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Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM
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Stock indexes close higher

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The Dow Jones industrial average closed higher Tuesday, following an equities rebound in Europe.

By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow added 99.22 points or 0.71 percent to 13,979.30. The Nasdaq composite index gained 40.41 points or 1.29 percent to 3,171.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 added 15.58 points or 1.04 percent to 1,511.29.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,227 stocks advanced and 838 declined on a volume of 3.5 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note fell 12/32 to yield 2.003 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro rose to $1.3582 from Monday's $1.3514. The dollar rose to 93.70 yen from 92.38 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 213.43 points, 1.9 percent, to 11,046.92.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.58 percent, 35.92 points, to 6,283.76.

CBO projects slow growth in 2013

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The Congressional Budget Office says U.S. economic growth "will remain slow" in 2013 due in part to budgetary changes "scheduled to occur under current law."

In a report released Tuesday, the non-partisan budget office, which advises Congress, said if "current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change," the gross domestic product would rise 1.4 percent in 2013, when adjusted for inflation. The report said the relatively slow growth would be a result of the end of the payroll tax break and the increase in income tax rates provided for under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which raised rates on individual income of more than $400,000 per year and household income above $450,000 per year.

The CBO said economic growth will accelerate after this year, leading to more hiring but higher inflation and interest rates, but the economy will not return to its "potential (or maximum sustainable) level" until 2017.

Emphasizing that its projections are based on no change in current law on taxation and spending, the report projects unemployment will remain above 7.5 percent through 2014, which would be the sixth consecutive year with unemployment above 7.5 percent, "the longest such period in the past 70 years."

The CBO projected the budget deficit would shrink to 2.4 percent of the gross domestic product by 2015, a drop from 5.3 percent in 2013, when the deficit is expected to shrink under $1 trillion for the first time in five years. However, the deficit is expected to remain high "because of the pressures of an aging population, rising healthcare costs, an expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, and growing interest payments on federal debt."

The CBO said if current laws remain intact -- and it is not anticipating they will or will not -- then the debt will reach 77 percent of the country's gross domestic product by 2023.

"Such high and rising debt," the CBO said, "would have serious negative consequences."

Lack of bus fare barrier to work

ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A New York single mother said a temporary free bus pass made all the difference for her in getting to her job at Macy's at an Albany suburban mall.

Antoinette Elcock, 24, a single mother of a 4-year-old son said she lives 6 miles from her job as a retail clerk at the Colonie Center mall and she could not afford a car, a taxi or even bus fare, so getting a free pass made it possible for her to go to work, the Albany Times Union reported.

"I'm not making a lot of money, so not having to worry about $65 coming out of my pocket made a big difference," she told the Times Union.

Harris Oberlander, chief executive officer of Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, said about 15 people have been awarded monthly bus passes so far as part of a $5,000 Capital District Transit Authority grant to the non-profit group.

While visiting a food pantry last spring, Elcock discovered several programs to help get her on her feet.

Dickinson said Elcock needed additional help beyond her $550 welfare check and $200 in food stamps -- her monthly rent is $550, which she splits with a roommate.

At Trinity, she enrolled in a high school equivalency diploma program.

Dickinson's program helped Elcock prepare her resume and job skills. She was directed to another non-profit group, Dress for Success, which collects donated professional attire and gives women the beginning of a wardrobe suitable for the workplace.

Elcock said when she puts on her work outfit and heads to her job she feels confident and full of purpose. She said she hopes to study cosmetology, earn a beautician's license, earn an associate degree in business management and eventually open her own hair salon.

After six months of free bus fare and working during a busy holiday shopping season, Elcock said her $8 an hour job was cut back to 12 hours a week, but she is now paying for her own bus fare.

Crude oil climbs Tuesday

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Crude oil closed higher Tuesday, adding 52 cents to $96.65 per barrel in New York.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, reformulated blendstock gasoline added 1.42 cents to $3.0314 per gallon. Heating oil added 2.98 cents to $3.1901 per gallon.

Natural gas added 9 cents to $3.418 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.533 per gallon from Monday's $3.523 per gallon, AAA said.

The national average price at gasoline stations has gained 23.4 cents in the past month. Out of that, the price has jumped 16.9 cents in the past week, AAA said.

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