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US stocks down ... US home prices rise at slower pace ... US consumer confidence rises

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. and global stocks fell today as investors closed their positions ahead of the New Year and amid concern over political uncertainty in Greece. At 10:38 a.m. Eastern Time, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 67 points, to 17,971. The S&P 500 lost eight points, to 2,083. And the Nasdaq composite was down 20 points, to 4,787.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in October at a slightly slower pace, as real estate sales have fallen and affordability has increasingly become a challenge for potential buyers. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 4.5 percent in October from 12 months prior. This marks the eleventh straight month of decelerating price gains and the smallest gain since October 2012.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence rose in December. The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index climbed to 92.6 from a revised 91 in November. Consumers registered a more favorable view of current economic conditions. But their expectations for the near future fell slightly. Still, those expectations are rosier now than they were when 2014 began.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The credit rating agency Fitch is warning that prolonged political uncertainty in Greece could hurt the country's sovereign rating, after a snap general election was called for Jan. 25. The agency says it's unclear whether any single party would be able to form a government alone, a stalemate that would "increase the risks to Greece's creditworthiness." It also cites risks of further delays to bailout negotiations and a potential drop in bank deposits.

UNDATED (AP) — Sales of $1 million homes are booming, even as overall sales have sputtered this year. It's further evidence of how the nearly six-year economic recovery has favored the wealthy. The real estate brokerage Redfin recently reported that sales of properties costing more $1 million climbed 9 percent year-over-year. Overall sales slipped 1.2 percent. The National Association of Realtors said last week that more than 60 percent of the U.S. homes sold in November cost less than $250,000 — and their sales have tumbled over the past 12 months.

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