Nov. 27 - Summary of business headlines: Down day for stocks; Cyber Monday success; Consumer confidence hits new 4-year high; Home prices rise again; ConAgra buys Ralcorp Holdings. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks took a slow slide Tuesday as the edge of the fiscal cliff gets one day closer. The major U.S. indexes all closed lower. The list of companies issuing special dividends to dodge higher taxes ahead of it is growing. But consumers are surfing and spending. Cyber Monday was a big hit. According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, online sales were up 30 percent- setting a new record. And Amazon says its sale of the Kindle Fire tablet was its most successful Cyber Monday deal ever. And new data shows the U.S. economy is looking up. Consumers are more bullish. Confidence rose to its highest level in more than four years. Durable goods orders were unchanged- but that was better than forecasts. Home prices rose for an eighth straight month. Home building is expected to add to growth this year for the first time since 2005. Rick Sharga of Carrington Mortgage Holdings: SOUNDBITE: RICK SHARGA, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CARRINGTON MORTGAGE HOLDINGS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The important thing to call this is a recovery, but it's a nascent recovery. It's in the early stages and it's going to be a very slow gradual recovery over the next few years while we work through a backlog of distressed homes and get through some other headwinds that will keep the market from exploding." And business spending increased by the most in five months in October- a sign fears of the impact of a fiscal cliff may be cooling off. ConAgra Foods has sealed the deal to buy private-label foods maker Ralcorp Holdings for $5 billion. The deal will give ConAgra exposure to faster-growing retailers with big private label brands like Whole Foods and Costco. In Europe: Shares edged higher after an agreement by international lenders to cut Greece's debt.