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Business & Money Wednesday Morning Preview #Hounews

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Behind the scenes in the News92 FM Newsroom/Photo credit: Brent Clanton

Behind the scenes in the News92 FM Newsroom/Photo credit: Brent Clanton

A predicted a pullback after a remarkable rally on Wall Street: Stocks dragged lower by automakers and consumer-focused companies like Amazon. The Dow dropped nearly .6% to 15,915, the S&P lost .3%, and the Nasdaq slipped .2%. Yet, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has surged 26% in 2013, on track for its best year in a decade.
Gold slipped $7 to $1,214/ounce.
Oil added $1.16 to $97.20/barrel.

More metrics about the first holiday shopping weekend from Shopper Track, showing the impact of technology on store visits. “We’ve seen the traffic declines throughout the year, and a lot of that is the result of the consumer’s ability to do virtual window shopping,” says Shopper Track founder, Bill Martin. In the past there were about four-and-a-half to five store visits per shopping trip, whereas today, it’s more like three to three-and-a-half.

GM and Chrysler’s double-digit November sales spikes led automakers in posting big sales numbers for the month, thanks to a strong holiday weekend—but may come at a price of lower performance later. “Sales right now are getting close to pre-recession norms, so I think at this point we may see modest increases, but I think the days of the really big double-digit increases are probably gonna be very limited,” says Jessica Caldwell with

It could be a bitter Christmas present — an end to longer-term unemployment benefits. Democrats say over a million Americans stand to lose long-term unemployment benefits – just 3 days after Christmas, if Congress does not act to renew the program. With unemployment down to 7.3%, senior Republicans say leaders will oppose the extension.

Texas produced oil at a record rate in September–2.7 million barrels per day–the highest average since federal officials began keeping monthly records in January 1981. It also marked a 30% increase over September 2012.

A jury is set to hear testimony from the first witness at the trial of a former BP drilling engineer charged with deleting text messages and voicemails about the company’s response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. An FBI supervisor who worked on the case against Kurt Mix is expected to testify today when the federal trial resumes in New Orleans.

The European Commission has fined a group of banks $2.3 billion for colluding to profit from derivatives linked to rigged interest rates. JPMorgan, UBS, and Citigroup are among those accused of colluding instead of competing to offer the best rates, said Competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

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