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Dow Jones News Top Stories Of The Day – December 27, 2006 December 27, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Economic News.
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US STOCKS RALLY, WITH DOW ABOVE 12500

Robust new-home-sales data and a flurry of year-end buying push Dow Jones Industrial Average to a fresh record. IBM and Ford Motor help propel the index higher. Apple Computer, which fell early in the day, bounces back to finish virtually flat. Trading volumes remain light, with many traders and market participants away for the holidays. DJIA rises 102.94 points to 12510.57. Nasdaq climbs 17.71 points to 2431.22.

FORMER PRESIDENT FORD DIES AT 93
Former President Gerald R. Ford, who declared “Our long national nightmare is over” as he replaced Richard Nixon, dies at 93. Nation’s 38th president, and the only one not elected to the office, died at his Rancho Mirage, Calif., home yesterday. He was the longest living former president. Ford’s funeral is expected to be held Tuesday.

US NEW-HOME SALES CLIMB 3.4%
Sales rise to 1.047 million annual rate in November, above economists’ average estimate, and inventories fall 1.4%, signaling the slumping housing market may be stabilizing. Median price up 5.8% from year earlier, but sales are still down 15% from November 2005.

US RETAIL SALES UP 5.2% IN WEEK TO DEC 23
Retail sales for week ended December 23 rise 5.2% on surge of last-minute spending that should bring total holiday sales close to original projections, says ShopperTrak. Gain is driven by big sales increases during final two shopping days of the week.

APPLE SLIPS ON GOVERNMENT PROBE REPORT
Shares edge lower on a report that CEO Steve Jobs hired his own attorney to deal with SEC and Justice Department in relation to an examination of stock-option administration documents. Apple shares fell nearly 6% earlier.

FORD CONFIRMS TOYOTA TALKS
Auto maker confirms meeting between CEO Mulally and Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho last week. Ford describes it as a standard business event that mirrors company’s past practices to discuss “topics of mutual interest.”

EDWARDS’ CAMPAIGN SAYS HE’S RUNNING
Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is running for president for a second time, his campaign says. He will formally announce his candidacy tomorrow in New Orleans.

CHICAGO FED INDEX EDGES HIGHER
Fed Bank of Chicago says manufacturing activity in the Midwest rises 0.3% in November, compared with October, with the machinery, resource and auto sectors all posting monthly gains.

KLA-TENCOR DIRECTOR RESIGNS
Jon D. Tompkins resigns from board of semiconductor-equipment maker effective immediately, company says. He has been director since 1997 and served as company’s chairman from 1998 to 1999 and CEO for a year before that.

ON SEMI REPURCHASING SHARES FROM LARGEST HOLDER
ON Semiconductor shares rise 2% in late trading after the company agrees to repurchase $70 million of its shares from TPG Semiconductor Holdings and TPG ON Holdings for $7.18 each, a 3% discount to yesterday’s closing price.

MCCLATCHY TO SELL MINNEAPOLIS PAPER
Media company agrees to sell the Minneapolis Star Tribune to private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners for $530 million, less than half of what McClatchy paid for the newspaper in 1998 when it purchased it from Cowles Media.

US TOSSES ROADBLOCK IN PATH OF VIRGIN AIRLINE
Government tosses a roadblock in the path of startup airline Virgin America, ruling the company must change its ownership and corporate structure before it can receive an operating certificate.

UNITED LAUNCHES INDUSTRY’S FARE SALE
Following with tradition, UAL’s United Airlines has launched a post-holiday fare sale intended to stimulate demand during a traditionally slow period, and many of its competitors followed suit.

EX-US INTERIOR SECRETARY JOINS SHELL OIL
Royal Dutch Shell hires former U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton to serve as a counsel for the oil giant. Norton to be based primarily out of Colorado, and serve as general counsel for Shell’s unconventional resources division, Shell says.

CENVEO TO BUY CADMUS FOR $235M
Cenveo agrees to buy printing-services company for $24.75 a share, an 18% over yesterday’s closing price. Deal’s total value is $430 million including debt. Cenveo, which is looking to move into some niche markets, gains 9%.

LEHMAN OKS MAJORITY VOTE FOR DIRECTORS
Financial services firm says it has amended its bylaws and adopted majority voting as the standard for directors running unopposed for seats on company’s board. Majority voting has been pushed by shareholders as better than plurality voting.

HARBINGER UPS APPLICA BID
Applica accepts Harbinger Capital Partners’ raised $7.50-a-share bid for the company, which matches a bid by Nacco Industries. Applica had agreed to a $6-a-share buyout by Harbinger units in October, dumping a prior deal with Nacco.

ENTERCOM TO PAY $4.25M IN PAYOLA SETTLEMENT
Company will pay to settle allegations it solicited payments from record labels and traded air time for promotional gifts, personal trips and other items, says New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office.

EX-YUKOS HOLDER EYED IN POISONING CASE
Russian Prosecutor General’s office says it is investigating the possible role of a former top owner in oil company Yukos in the poisoning death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

======= DOW JONES NEWSWIRES ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARIES =======

LATE TRADING
VCA Antech Roughly Flat After Outlook
VCA shares edge higher in late trading after animal health-care company releases fiscal 2007 earnings and revenue outlook. Meanwhile, Sento falls 5% after reporting a 2Q loss.

SMALL CAPS
Small Stocks Up On Housing Report
Rise sharply with a report on new home sales encouraging buyers across the board, as home builders fare particularly well. Comstock Homebuilding rises 8%, while Class A shares of Levitt gain 4%.

============ U.S. MARKETS ACTION ===========
DJIA up 102.94 points to 12510.57
NASDAQ up 17.71 points to 2431.22
S&P 500 up 9.94 points to 1426.84
10-year T-note down 13/32 at 99 24/32 yield 4.654
NYMEX Spot Crude up/down $0.76 at $60.34/bbl at close
Dollar/Euro up 0.0005 at 1.3108

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