Dec. 12 - Summary of business headlines: Fed new jobless rate target 6.5%; Aetna raises forecast; Berkshire stock buyback; Redbox deal to compete with Netflix; Americans put off holiday shopping. Bobbi Rebell reports.
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Stocks rose to seven-week highs during Wednesday's trading session- cheering the Fed's new stimulus plan and promise to keep rates near zero until the unemployment rate gets back down to 6 and a half percent.
But the enthusiasm was short-lived. Stocks fell back by the end of the session. The major indexes closing mostly lower.
It's the Fed's latest attempt to boost the country's struggling economy.
Wells Fargo's Brian Jacobsen:
SOUNDBITE: BRIAN JACOBSEN, CHIEF PORTFOLIO STRATEGIST, WELLS FARGO ADVANTAGE FUNDS (ENGLISH) SAYING:
"I think that Wall Street and even just Main Street could actually take encouragement from what the Fed's policy stance is because they have set out clear targets saying that they are not going to let inflation run out of control before they start bringing in- tightening monetary policy so I think that should be comforting to individuals."
Shares of Aetna jumped. The third-largest U.S. insurer gave a higher forecast for profit and revenue growth in 2013.
Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway announced it spent $1.2 billion to buy back shares of its class A stock from the estate of a long-time investor. Shares rose on the news.
But Wal-Mart stock dragged on the Dow. The Indian government announced an inquiry into the company's lobbying practices.
New competition for Netflix- and at a lower price. DVD rental kiosk operator Redbox will launch an $8 a month instant video streaming service this month. The new service- a joint venture between Redbox owner Coinstar and Verizon will offer four one-night DVD rentals a month from the Redbox kiosks, and unlimited streaming TV shows and movies- a similar package from Netflix starts at 16 bucks.
Americans are putting off their holiday shopping according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. Only 18 percent have finished their shopping- and 28 percent haven't done any holiday shopping at all yet. That could mean a big boost in sales during the final couple of weeks before Christmas.
Software pioneer John McAfee is been deported from Guatemala to the United States. He has been evading officials in Belize for nearly a month after the killing of his neighbor. He is best known for the anti-virus software bearing the McAfee name.
And in Europe: shares edged higher as concerns about the macro-economic environment eased.