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US stocks barely higher ... IMF bailout review for Greece on hold ... Trade group says companies losing big money with US drone ban

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 29, 2014 at 8:50 a.m.



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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are barely higher in early trading today as Wall Street winds down the year in this holiday-shortened week. European shares fell as Greece headed for early elections that could endanger its bailout program. At 10:40 a.m. Eastern Time, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 13 points, to 18,067. The S&P 500 five points, to 2,093 and the Nasdaq composite was up three points, to 4,809.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says it'll resume Greece's bailout review only after a new government is put in place, following national elections Jan. 25. Greece's government was forced today to call early national elections, and investors worry that the main opposition party will win — and want to renege on the country's bailout deal. The IMF says Greece faces no immediate financing needs. Greece's stock market tumbled 11.3 percent today before recouping some of its losses.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is expected soon to propose rules for commercial drone operations in U.S. skies, but key decisions on how much access to grant drones are likely to come from Congress next year. Except for a small number of companies that have received FAA exemptions, a ban on commercial drone flights remains in place. The trade group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, says each year the ban stays in place, the U.S. loses more than $10 billion in potential economic benefits that drones could provide.

UNDATED (AP) — Walgreen shareholders have voted in favor of the nation's largest drugstore chain's spending nearly $16 billion to complete the final step in its purchase of European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots. Walgreen bought a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots, which runs the United Kingdom's largest pharmacy chain, in 2012 for about $6.7 billion in cash and stock. Walgreen then said in August that it would buy the remaining stake. The deal is expected to close Wednesday.

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is canceling a trip to promote winter tourism in the state because there isn't enough snow. The governor and his entourage had planned to arrive today at a lodge in Lewis County and rent about two dozen sleds so they could hit the trails. But with little or no snow in the region, Cuomo has called off those plans. Forecasts call for lake-effect snow starting Tuesday night and lasting into the weekend.

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The Associated Press

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