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From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Business Highlights

[November 13, 2012]

Business Highlights

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ___ Most in US won't be able to escape `fiscal cliff' WASHINGTON (AP) _ Everyone who pays income tax _ and some who don't _ will feel it.

So will doctors who accept Medicare, people who get unemployment aid, defense contractors, air traffic controllers, national park rangers and companies that do research and development.

The package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" takes effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then. The economy would be hit so hard that it would likely sink into recession in the first half of 2013, economists say.


And no matter who you are, it will be all but impossible to avoid the pain.

Middle income families would have to pay an average of about $2,000 more next year, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has calculated.

___ AAA: Thanksgiving travel should increase slightly NEW YORK (AP) _ Slightly more Americans will hit the road this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. That includes people who are choosing to drive instead of fly as household budgets remain tight.

In its annual Thanksgiving travel forecast released Tuesday, AAA predicts 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, up just 0.7 percent from last year.

But while more people are traveling, it appears that the pent-up demand seen following the recession has largely dissipated. Demand grew a healthy 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in the two previous Thanksgiving holiday periods even though economic growth was moderate. AAA says it will take a stronger economy to spur a significant jump in travel demand going forward.

___ US government runs $120 billion October deficit WASHINGTON (AP) _ The federal government started the 2013 budget year with a $120 billion deficit in October, an indication that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus annual deficit.

A soaring deficit puts added pressure on President Barack Obama and Congress to seek a budget deal in the coming weeks.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the October deficit _ the gap between the government's tax revenue and its spending _ was 22 percent higher than the same month last year.

___ US regulators urge SEC to propose fund changes WASHINGTON (AP) _ A group of federal regulators is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt stricter rules for money-market mutual funds.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council issued the recommendations Tuesday. The panel is led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Among the recommendations are requirements for funds to hold capital reserves against losses _ there are none right now _ and limits on how quickly investors can withdraw their money.

___ Home Depot 3Q results edge up, beat Street's view NEW YORK (AP) _ Home Depot Inc.'s net income rose slightly in the third quarter, as glimmers of a housing market recovery and storm preparation added to sales and offset costs related to closing stores in China.

Results beat expectations and the company also raised its forecast for the year. Shares rose nearly 4 percent.

Home improvement companies have long been under pressure due to the weak housing market, as consumers cut back on large-scale renovation projects. But they stand ready to benefit as evidence mounts that the housing market is slowly improving.

___ Cisco's 1Q earnings rise 18 percent NEW YORK (AP) _ Cisco Systems Inc. says earnings rose 18 percent in the latest quarter as it gained more solid footing after warning earlier this year of an abrupt slowdown in technology spending.

Cisco made $2.1 billion, or 39 cents per share, from August to October, its fiscal first quarter. That compares with $1.8 billion, or 33 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding the cost of stock-based compensation and certain other items, Cisco would have earned 48 cents per share. On that basis, Cisco's earnings were 2 cents above the average analyst estimate, according to FactSet.

___ Report: FDA wanted to close Mass pharmacy in 2003 WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nearly a decade ago, federal health inspectors wanted to shut down the pharmacy linked to a recent deadly meningitis outbreak until it cleaned up its operations, according to congressional investigators.

About 440 people have been sickened by contaminated steroid shots distributed by New England Compounding Center, and more than 32 deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That has put the Framingham, Mass.-based pharmacy at the center of congressional scrutiny and calls for greater regulation of compounding pharmacies, which make individualized medications for patients and have long operated in a legal gray area between state and federal laws.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a detailed history of NECC's regulatory troubles on Monday, ahead of a Wednesday meeting to examine how the outbreak could have been prevented. The 25-page report summarizes and quotes from FDA and state inspection memos, though the committee declined to release the original documents.

___ EU talks on banking union to expose divisions BRUSSELS (AP) _ European finance ministers inched toward strengthening their banking sectors and the management of their economies at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, but put off decisions on comprehensive solutions to the region's financial crisis.

Weakness in the banking sector and inadequate monitoring of national budgets were among the prime causes of Europe's three-year crisis, which has seen several countries struggle with too much debt. Fixing those areas is crucial not only to ending the current crisis but also preventing a repeat.

European leaders have agreed, in theory, to cede significant amounts of sovereignty to fix those problems. As part of this plan, the European Central Bank will be put in charge of all of the banks in the 17 countries that use the euro by as early as next year. And they have proposed giving the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, the power to review and even reject their national budgets to prevent against overspending.

___ Best Buy CEO outlines turnaround plans NEW YORK (AP) _ Best Buy's new CEO said Tuesday that its time for the struggling electronics chain to try to embrace one of its biggest problems, "showrooming" _ when customers check out electronics at its stores and then buy them cheaper online.

Ten weeks into the job, CEO Hubert Joly and other Best Buy executives laid out plans to reverse the consumer electronics chain's slumping sales and declining profit during an analysts' meeting in New York, which was webcast.

This was the first chance for analysts to hear the plans Joly has for the company, which he laid out in detail, although he added that since he has only been on the job for a few weeks the plans are preliminary.

___ Microsoft releases IE 10 browser for Windows 7 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The latest version of Microsoft's Web browser is now available to the vast audience connecting to the Internet on personal computers running on the Windows 7 operating system.

The redesigned browser, Internet Explorer 10, made its debut last month when Microsoft released Windows 8, which makes dramatic changes to an operating system that has been powering PCs for decades.

Internet Explorer 10 initially is being introduced Tuesday to Windows 7 users in a "preview," or test, mode. The new browser isn't compatible with XP, Vista and any other older Windows version.

___ By The Associated Press(equals) The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 58.90 points, or 0.5 percent, at 12,756.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 5.50 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,374.53. The Nasdaq composite index fell 20.37 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,883.89.

Benchmark oil dropped 19 cents to end at $85.38 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 81 cents to $108.26 per barrel in London.

Heating oil fell 3.84 cents to end at $2.961 per gallon. Gasoline futures 2.25 cents to end at $2.654 per gallon. Natural gas rose 16.9 cents, or 4.7 percent, to end at $3.739 per 1,000 cubic feet.

(c) 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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