Schapiro's SEC successor likely to follow her lead
WASHINGTON (AP) — The leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission will change next month. Its approach to regulation probably won't.
Mary Schapiro will step down as chairwoman after a tumultuous tenure in which she helped lead the government's regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis.
Replacing her will be Elisse Walter, one of five SEC commissioners, whose career path has tracked Schapiro's for nearly three decades.
Walter has served under Schapiro at both the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry's self-policing organization. Both women worked at the SEC in the 1980s. Walter was also general counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission when Schapiro led that agency in the mid-1990s.
Cyber Monday likely to be busiest online sales day
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.
Shoppers are expected to spend $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, up 20 percent from last year, according to research firm comScore. That would not only make it the biggest online shopping day of the year, but the biggest since comScore started tracking shoppers' online buying habits in 2001.
Online shopping was up 25.6 percent on Cyber Monday compared with the same time period a year ago, according to figures released Monday afternoon by IBM Benchmark, which tracks online sales. Sales from mobile devices, which include tablets, rose 10.9 percent. The group does not track dollar amount sales.
AP IMPACT: NYC flood protection won't be easy
NEW YORK (AP) — Inside tunnels threading under a Houston medical campus, 100 submarine doors stand ready to block invading floodwaters. Before commuters in Bangkok can head down into the city's subways, they must first climb three feet of stairs to raised entrances, equipped with flood gates. In Washington, D.C., managers of a retail and apartment complex need just two hours to activate steel walls designed to hold back as much as a 17-foot rise in the Potomac River.
If metropolitan New York is going to defend itself from surges like the one that overwhelmed the region during Superstorm Sandy, decision makers can start by studying how others have fought the threat of fast-rising water. And they must accept an unsettling reality: Limiting the damage caused by flooding will likely demand numerous changes, large and small, and yet even substantial protections will be far from absolute.
Sandy's toll is overwhelming. But finding the money and political will to build a proposed system of giant storm barriers at the mouth of New York Harbor will likely be very difficult. Even at a cost of up to $27 billion, such barriers would leave large parts of the region unprotected.
All items in '12 Days of Christmas' now top $107,000
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Add seven swans, six geese and five golden rings to the list of Christmas gifts that cost more than they did a year ago.
And if you get all 364 items repeated throughout "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, you'll pay 6.1 percent more this year, according to the so-called Christmas Price Index that PNC Wealth Management updates annually.
That comes to $107,300.
Ex-financier free on bail in insider trading case
NEW YORK (AP) — A former hedge fund portfolio manager accused of enabling a quarter of a billion dollars in profits by passing along inside information in one of the largest insider trading fraud cases in history appeared in a Manhattan court for the first time Monday and was released on $5 million bail, though his movements were restricted.
Mathew Martoma, 38, of Boca Raton, Fla., was read his rights by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cott, who agreed to impose a bail package that prosecutors and Martoma's lawyers had worked out after his initial court appearance in Florida last week. He had been free on $5 million bail in Florida as well. Martoma must post $2 million in cash or property by next week to satisfy the new bail requirements, which will limit his travel to New York, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts.
Martoma was arrested last week on charges that between 2006 and 2008, he helped to engineer one of the largest insider trading frauds in history. Martoma worked with CR Intrinsic Investors, an affiliate of SAC Capital Advisors. SAC is owned by Steven A. Cohen, one of the world's richest men.
ConocoPhillips selling Caspian Sea claim for $5 billion
HOUSTON (AP) — ConocoPhillips is selling a minority interest in drilling sites off the coast of Kazakhstan for about $5 billion as it continues to downsize.
The Houston company has aggressively sold refineries, pipelines and other assets over the past few years to remake itself as an independent oil and gas producer. It has sold more than $20 billion in assets and investments since 2010.
The buyer of ConocoPhillips' 8.4 percent stake, part of a production sharing agreement in the Caspian Sea, is India's ONGC Videsh Ltd.
The field is being developed jointly by Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total, Kazakh state-run oil company KazMunaiGas and the Inpex Corp.
McGraw-Hill sells education division to Apollo
NEW YORK (AP) — McGraw-Hill said Monday that it reached a deal to sell its education arm to private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC for $2.5 billion in cash and debt, as part of its plan to focus on its financial information businesses.
As part of the deal, McGraw-Hill will receive $250 million in Apollo debt with an annual interest rate of 8.5 percent. The acquisition includes the New York-based company's digital and traditional textbook business and other assets.
The sale is expected to close in late 2012 or early 2013. At that time, New York-based McGraw-Hill Cos. will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial. Harold McGraw III, McGraw-Hill's current chairman, president and CEO, will head that company.
Lehman sells Archstone for $6.5 billion
NEW YORK (AP) — Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s bankruptcy estate is selling apartment-building owner Archstone Enterprise LP in a $6.5 billion cash and stock deal.
Lehman said Monday that it is selling Archstone to Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities Inc. Archstone is Lehman Brothers' single largest asset.
Lehman owned about half Archstone until earlier this year when it bought full ownership for $1.58 billion.
Nintendo says more than 400,000 Wii Us sold in US
NEW YORK (AP) — Nintendo has sold more than 400,000 of its new video game console, the Wii U, in its first week on sale in the U.S., the company said Monday.
The Wii U launched on Nov. 18 in the U.S. at a starting price of $300. Nintendo said the sales figure, based on internal estimates, is through Saturday, or seven days later.
The Wii U is the first major game console to launch in six years. It comes with a new touch-screen controller that promises to change how people play games by offering different people in the same room a different experience, depending on the controller used.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.31 points to 12,967.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 2.86 to 1,406.29. And the Nasdaq composite index managed a 9.93-point increase to 2,976.78.
Oil for January delivery closed lower by 54 cents at $87.74 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, which is used to set prices for many international varieties of oil, slipped 57 cents to $110.81 a barrel.
Wholesale gasoline fell 1.76 cents to $2.7260 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 17.1 cents to $3.73 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil was down 3.06 cents at $3.0465 a gallon.