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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street, led by more declines in energy and materials stocks as prices for oil and other commodities slide. Dow Chemical and DuPont both fell after announcing the terms of their giant merger. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down more than 200 points.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Holiday shopping is off to a solid though unspectacular start. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent last month, after rising 0.1 percent in October. It was unchanged in September and August. Much of the lackluster sales growth stems from cheaper gasoline, which caused purchases at gas stations to fall 0.8 percent last month. Excluding gas, retail sales improved 0.3 percent last month and 3.6 percent from a year ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. producer prices rose in November for the first time in four months, driven up by higher profit margins for retailers and wholesalers and a jump in shipping costs. The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures prices before they reach the consumer, increased 0.3 percent last month. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices also rose 0.3 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S businesses left their stockpiles unchanged in October, while total business sales fell for the second month out of the past three. The Commerce Department says October business inventories were flat following a tiny 0.1 percent rise in September. It was the weakest showing since July. Sales fell 0.2 percent in October after being flat in September. Many economists believe continued weakness in inventories will dampen growth this quarter as well.
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Dow Chemical and the DuPont Co. have announced they are merging in a $130 billion chemical industry megadeal. The two companies will form DowDuPont, then separate into three independent publicly traded companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products. The deal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is sure to be closely scrutinized by regulators.
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