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Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM
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Markets gain early Monday

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes made headway Monday, extending a 2013 rally that was derailed for two days last week.

Markets picked up where they left off Friday -- in recovery mode after falling off Wednesday and Thursday.

In late-morning trading Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average added 10.07 points, or 0.07 percent, to 14,010.64. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 1.48 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,517.08 points. The Nasdaq composite added 8.22 points, or 0.26 percent, to 3,170.04 points.

The 10-year U.S. treasury rose 3/32 Monday to yield 1.957 percent.

Against the dollar the euro fell to $1.3197 from Friday's $1.3217. Against the yen, the dollar was lower at 93.72 yen from 94.55 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed at 11,662.52 points, up 276.58 points or 2.43 percent.

Air fares for business expected to climb

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A stronger global economy means a climb in airline rates for business travelers for U.S. domestic and for international flights, a trade group said.

The Global Business Travel Association predicted a 4.3 percent rise in domestic fares for 2013 and an 8.3 percent rise for international fares, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Delta Airlines got the ball rolling on price increases for the year already. The airline added as much as $10 to the price of flights booked within a week of departure, a segment that has a significant percentage of business travelers.

FareCompare said that within a week of that price bump, every other major U.S. carrier had fallen into step with increases of their own.

When prices escalate, they tend to do so once approximately once every two months. But attempts to break into a new price plateau are not always successful and if too few airlines follow suit, then an individual airline may have to back down from an attempt to charge higher prices.

In 2012, prices rose across the board in seven out of 15 price hikes attempts, the newspaper said.

NABE survey: 'Sequester' likely to occur

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The $85 billion in looming U.S. spending cuts will likely occur, most economists, analysts, academics and policymakers said in a survey released Monday.

Twenty-nine of 49 panelists, or nearly 60 percent of the panel, told the National Association for Business Economics' February Outlook Survey they expected the sequester to occur Friday in either partial form or full form.

The sequester is the Washington term for across-the-board federal domestic and military spending cuts passed by Congress that will be automatically triggered Friday and run through September unless lawmakers intervene.

The cuts -- established as part of the 2011 deal to raise the federal debt limit -- represent a small slice of the government's annual $3.5 trillion budget, and big-ticket programs such as Social Security and Medicare benefits are exempt from them.

The cuts are expected to be phased in gradually over several months.

Congress was to return Monday after a weeklong recess, four days before the Friday deadline -- which was already moved once, at the start of the year, to give Republicans and Democrats additional time to negotiate.

More than a quarter of the NABE panelists said they believed sequestration would be further deferred, and about 13 percent said they thought sequestration would be avoided altogether.

The negative sentiment of the panelists' majority reflects a "frustration the business community is feeling about the inability of Washington to get its act together," Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Senior Economist and Economic Adviser William A. Strauss told United Press International Sunday night.

Strauss said the U.S. economy would likely be showing "a much better performance" if there weren't uncertainty over the sequester and whether Congress will keep the government funded after March 27.

A stopgap spending plan, called a continuing resolution, is expected to be taken up by the House the week of March 4.

A faction of House conservatives said it persuaded GOP leadership to postpone any action on the joint House-Senate continuing resolution until after sequestration kicks in, a Republican aide told the National Journal.

Barnes & Noble and founder to discuss deal

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The founder of Barnes & Noble, Leonard Riggio, intends to negotiate with its directors to buy the retail end of the company, a regulatory filing said.

Riggio owns 30 percent of the company and expects to negotiate a deal that is primarily a cash transaction, The New York Times reported Monday.

The deal is not expected to include Nook Media, which is the company's digital book business.

With the publishing business in rapid transition due to the Internet and electronic options for reading material and other content, Barnes & Noble is expected to post losses from the fourth quarter.

The Times said Nook Media is also expected to post losses for the quarter.

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