Port strike delayed
Dockworkers along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico agreed Friday to extend their contract for more than a month, averting a weekend strike that could have crippled major ports from Boston to Houston and bottled up billions of dollars’ worth of cargo. Talks aimed at reaching a new contract covering the 14,500 longshoremen will continue during the extension, which runs through Feb. 6.
Pending home sales
The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.7 percent in November from October, to 106.4. That’s the highest since April 2010. The Realtors’ group forecasts that sales may rise in 2013 to about 5.1 million, still below the 5.5 million that is considered consistent with a healthy market.
Anticlot drug OK’d
The Food and Drug Administration approved an anticlotting drug called Eliquis, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc., a potential blockbuster in a new category of medicines to prevent strokes and heart attacks. The FDA cleared the pill for treating the most common type of irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, in patients at risk for strokes or dangerous clots.
Stocks fall again
Stocks fell for a fifth day on concern that Washington lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal before a self-imposed year-end deadline. The five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average was the longest since July. Ryan Detrick, a senior technical strategist at Schaeffer Investment Research, said, “We could be greeted by a big sell-off at the start of January.”
Nook stake bought
Pearson, the U.K. publisher and education company, is to take a 5 percent stake in Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader as technology companies seek new inroads into the potentially lucrative business of digital textbooks for schools. Pearson PLC will pay $89.5 million cash for a 5 percent stake in Nook Media LLC, which includes the bookseller’s e-reader and tablets, its digital bookstore and its 674 stores serving U.S. colleges.
Spain’s woes continue
Spain faces another tough year as it grapples with recession, a deep financial crisis and 25 percent unemployment, its prime minister said. Mariano Rajoy said the country’s crisis had been worse than anticipated. While Mariano Rajoy was speaking, investor concerns over Spain’s problems sent shares in rescued lender Bankia falling nearly 27 percent.
Oil price lower
The price of oil fell slightly to $90.80 a barrel as a U.S. budget agreement remained elusive and a government report showed U.S. oil production hit its highest point since March 1993. Gasoline demand at the wholesale level is nearly 3 percent lower than a year ago.
China: Apple infringed
A Chinese court has ordered Apple Inc. to pay $165,000 to eight Chinese writers and two companies who say unlicensed copies of their work were distributed through Apple’s online store.
An Apple spokeswoman, Carolyn Wu, said the company’s managers “take copyright infringement complaints very seriously.”
Italy costs rise
Italy’s borrowing costs have risen for the second day in a row in a pair of bond auctions that also failed to raise as much money as expected. The Italian Treasury said it raised $7.8 billion, short of its targets and at higher interest rates than last month.
Oil ship stranded
A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill ship and the vessel towing it are awaiting relief off the coast of Alaska’s Kodiak Island after the tow ship experienced engine problems. The Coast Guard said the Aiviq, an anchor handler, experienced multiple engine failures about 50 miles south of the island but was able to restart one engine.