TMCNet:  AP Business NewsBrief at 12:49 p.m. EST

[February 05, 2013]

AP Business NewsBrief at 12:49 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) US sues S&P over pre-crisis mortgage ratingsWASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. government says Standard & Poor's knowingly inflated its ratings on risky mortgage investments that played a key role in triggering the 2008 financial crisis. In charges filed late Monday in Los Angeles federal court, the Justice Department said the credit rating agency gave high marks to mortgage-backed securities because it wanted to earn more business from the banks that issued the investments.


Key allegations government is making against S&PHere is the basis of the case the U.S. government is making against Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a 128-page lawsuit: _ THE CHARGE: Dell in $24.4B founder-led deal to go privateSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Slumping personal computer maker Dell is bowing out of the stock market in a $24.4 billion buyout that represents the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up the financing for such risky maneuvers. The complex agreement announced Tuesday will allow Dell Inc.'s management, including founder Michael Dell, to attempt a company turnaround away from the glare and financial pressures of Wall Street.

Q&A: The federal charges against Standard & Poor'sWASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. government has filed civil charges against Standard & Poor's Ratings Services for improperly giving high ratings to toxic mortgage bonds before the financial crisis. It is the government's first big enforcement action related to a credit rating agency's actions in the lead-up to the 2008 crisis. Ahead of the filing late Monday, S&P had said it expected to be charged but denied any wrongdoing and said any lawsuit would be without merit.

Stocks make U-turn, rising on home prices, EuropeNEW YORK (AP) _ The stock market jumped Tuesday following a surge in U.S. home prices and signs of strength in Europe's economy. Strong earnings reports also helped power the gains. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 107 points to 13,986 as of 11:49 a.m. EST. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 13 to 1,509. The Nasdaq composite was up 29 to 3,160.

Oil rebounds to near $97; pump prices still risingNEW YORK (AP) _ Oil regained some of its loss from the day earlier, while pump prices are now up nearly a quarter since Jan. 1. Benchmark oil for March delivery rose 67 cents to $96.84 a barrel in midday trading Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil dropped by $1.60 to finish at $96.17 a barrel on Monday.

US service firms grew more slowly in JanuaryWASHINGTON (AP) _ Growth at U.S. service companies slowed slightly in January behind weaker new orders and business activity. But hiring improved, a bright sign for the economy. The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity dipped to 55.2 in January. That's down from 55.7 in December, which was the highest level in nearly a year. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

US home prices rose last year by most in 6.5 yearsWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 1/2 years in December, spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand. Home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier, according to a report Tuesday from CoreLogic, a real estate data provider. That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006. Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states.

Business, unions negotiating guest worker programWASHINGTON (AP) _ Business leaders and labor union officials are delving into high-stakes negotiations over a particularly contentious element of immigration reform _ a guest worker program to ensure future immigrants come here legally. The issue has traditionally divided labor and business. Labor groups have looked askance on bringing in numerous low-wage workers, while that's an outcome businesses have favored.

Lawsuits contribute to big UBS loss in Q4GENEVA (AP) _ Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS AG, posted Tuesday a 1.9 billion francs ($2.1 billion) loss for the fourth quarter in the wake of a series of lawsuits, scandals and a wave of restructuring. The bank, based in Zurich, attributed the loss mainly to "net charges for provisions for litigation, regulatory and similar matters as well as net restructuring charges and an own credit loss." In contrast, UBS made a net profit of 323 million francs in the fourth quarter of 2011 despite a $2 billion rogue trading scandal.

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