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AP Business NewsBrief at 1:05 p.m. EST
[January 22, 2013]

AP Business NewsBrief at 1:05 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Reports: Microsoft may invest in Dell buyoutNEW YORK (AP) _ CNBC and The Wall Street Journal are reporting that the discussions to buy struggling computer maker Dell now include Microsoft as a potential investor. If Microsoft joins in a Dell buyout, CNBC and the Journal say the software maker would contribute $1 billion to $3 billion. That amount would make Microsoft Corp. a minority investor in a complex deal expected to cost $23 billion to $27 billion if it's completed.

White House: Obama wouldn't block GOP debt billWASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House says a House Republican bill to extend the government's borrowing authority for three months still faces concerns in Congress but press secretary Jay Carney says that if it reaches President Barack Obama's desk, "he would not stand in the way of the bill becoming law." The White House in the past has voiced reservations about a short-term debt ceiling extension. But on Tuesday, Carney said the three-month plan by House GOP leaders is significant because it "de-escalates the sense of conflict." US home sales dip in Dec.; 2012 best in 5 yearsWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. sales of previously occupied homes dipped in December from November, in part because of a limited supply of available homes. But for all of 2012, sales rose to their highest level in five years. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales declined in December to an annual rate of 4.94 million. That's down from a rate of 4.99 million in November, which was revised lower but was still the highest in three years.

US stocks mixed as DuPont, J&J report earningsU.S. stocks wavered between small gains and losses Tuesday as big companies reported their fourth-quarter financial results. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19 points to 13,669 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose a fraction to 1,486. The Nasdaq composite average dropped seven to 3,127.

Delta Air Lines clings to $7M profit in 4QMINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit was nearly wiped out by Superstorm Sandy and special charges. The storm forced airlines to cancel more than 20,000 flights. The impact was bigger at Delta because Sandy also slowed its operations at its new oil refinery near Philadelphia.

EU pilots, cabin crew call for fatigue protectionBRUSSELS (AP) _ Pilots and cabin crew on Tuesday staged demonstrations in several European airports against planned EU legislation they say could force them to fly excessive hours and threaten the safety of passengers, but critics accused them of scaremongering. Protesters handed over petitions to authorities in Britain and staged actions at airports in Germany, Spain, Italy and other countries, calling for better safeguards for in-flight fatigue. Plans to standardize EU legislation are still being negotiated, but the pilots say they fear they could be asked to fly for over 12 hours throughout the night even though scientists claim safety is significantly endangered because of fatigue after 10 hours.

Verizon posts record 4Q loss on pension adjustmentNEW YORK (AP) _ Verizon strengthened its position as the top dog of the wireless industry in its latest quarter by raking in new subscribers and selling millions of iPhones, but also posted a record loss. The loss of $4.23 billion, or $1.48 per share, for the fourth quarter was mainly due to adjustments to the value of its pension funds and obligations, an annual routine for Verizon Communications Inc.

News Summary: J&J 4Q profit jumps on lower chargesBETTER NUMBERS: Johnson & Johnson's fourth-quarter net income jumped, mainly because of big charges a year ago. It made $2.57 billion, or 91 cents per share, on revenue of $17.56 billion. It expects 2013 earnings per share of $5.35 to $5.45. ONGOING TROUBLES: Some consumer health products included in J&J's 30-plus recalls since 2009 still won't be back in stores this year, and consumer sales dipped again.

Wal-Mart warns suppliers on stricter measuresBENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has alerted its global suppliers that it will immediately drop them if they subcontract their work to factories that haven't been authorized by the discounter. Wal-Mart's stricter measure, along with other changes to its policy, comes amid increasing calls for better safety oversight after a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Wal-Mart and other retailers. The fire in late November killed 112 workers at a factory owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd. Wal-Mart has said the factory wasn't authorized to make its clothes.

DuPont reports 4Q earnings droppedDOVER, Del. (AP) _ Soft demand for a key industrial pigment and solar energy products, coupled with increased spending on growth initiatives, led to a sharp drop in the DuPont Co.'s fourth-quarter income. But the results reported Tuesday still beat the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts of 7 cents per share on revenue of $7.2 billion, according to FactSet. And the company forecast higher operating earnings for 2013.

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

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