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AP Business NewsBrief at 3:33 a.m. EST
[January 04, 2013]

AP Business NewsBrief at 3:33 a.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Steady US hiring expected last month despite cliffWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. employers likely kept hiring last month at a modest but steady pace, despite tense negotiations that pushed the economy to the brink of the fiscal cliff. Economists forecast that employers added 155,000 jobs in December, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be slightly higher than November's 148,000. The unemployment rate is projected to remain at 7.7 percent.

Google emerges from FTC probe relatively unscathedSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google has settled a U.S. government probe into its business practices without making any major concessions on how the company runs its Internet search engine, the world's most influential gateway to digital information and commerce. Thursday's agreement with the Federal Trade Commission covers only some of the issues raised in a wide-ranging antitrust investigation that could have culminated in a regulatory crackdown that re-shapes Internet search, advertising and mobile computing.

German retail sales seen slipping in 2012BERLIN (AP) _ Germany's Federal Statistical Office is estimating that retail sales in the country, which has Europe's biggest economy, slipped by between 0.1 and 0.3 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year. The estimate released Friday was based on sales figures from January through November, adjusted for inflation and for the fact that December had two shopping days fewer than the same month in 2011.

Japan's Nikkei soars on 1st trade day of the yearBANGKOK (AP) _ Japan's benchmark stock index soared on its first trading day of the new year Friday, as investors reacted to a weakening yen and Washington's temporary skirting of the so-called fiscal cliff. But other Asian markets stalled as enthusiasm faded over the last-minute budget deal reached in Washington to avoid steep, automatic tax increases and spending cuts that would have taken effect Tuesday. The measure, however, was largely seen as crisis avoidance _ and puts off hard decisions about how to reduce government spending and deal with America's massive debt.

Actor Dempsey: Coffee chain bid appears successfulSEATTLE (AP) _ Actor Patrick Dempsey says it appears his bid to buy a small coffee chain has prevailed in a bankruptcy auction that included Starbucks Corp. Late Thursday night, Dempsey told a KOMO-TV reporter in Seattle that his investment group appears to have the winning bid for Tully's Coffee. He noted that a bankruptcy judge will have the final say on Jan. 11. Still, Dempsey tweeted "We got it! Thank you Seattle!" Oil prices fall to near $92 a barrelBANGKOK (AP) _ Oil prices fell Friday as euphoria faded over a budget deal reached earlier this week by U.S. lawmakers and traders focused on signs of lackluster demand. Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 74 cents at midday Bangkok time to $92.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to $92.92 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.

Stocks fade after Fed discloses split on stimulusNEW YORK (AP) _ A two-day rally in the stock market came to an end Thursday afternoon when an account of the Federal Reserve's last meeting revealed a split between bank officials over how long the Fed should keep buying bonds to support the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index treaded water for much of the day, then slid into the red around 2 p.m. Eastern, after the Fed released the minutes from its December meeting.

Fiscal-cliff deal no recipe for a robust economyWASHINGTON (AP) _ Housing is rebounding. Families are shrinking debts. Europe has avoided a financial crackup. And the fiscal cliff deal has removed the most urgent threat to the U.S. economy. So why don't economists foresee stronger growth and hiring in 2013 Economy, year-end sales help auto industry in 2012DETROIT (AP) _ A steadily improving economy and strong December sales lifted the American auto industry to its best performance in five years in 2012, especially for Volkswagen and Japanese-brand vehicles, and experts say the next year should be even better. Carmakers on Thursday announced their final figures, which totaled 14.5 million _ 13 percent better than 2011.

Retailers report higher December salesNEW YORK (AP) _ A last-minute surge in spending saved the holiday shopping season. Major retailers including Costco, Gap and Nordstrom on Thursday reported better-than-expected revenue in December. That comes as a relief for stores, which can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue in the last two months of the year.

(c) 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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