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Senate confirms Yellen as next Fed chief

Washington, Jan 6 (EFE).- The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Janet Yellen as the next chairperson of the Federal Reserve, thus giving the green light to the first woman in history to head the U.S. central bank. Yellen, 67 years old and the Fed's current vice-chairperson, received the support of 56 senators with 26 - all Republicans - voting against her appointment. She will replace Ben Bernanke at the helm of the Fed on Jan. 31, when the latter's term expires.

Business Highlights

___ Dec. auto sales falter; 2013 still best in 6 years DETROIT (AP) — December U.S. auto sales slowed a bit from the brisk pace earlier this year, but automakers still were on target to finish 2013 with the best numbers in six years.

US stocks mostly lower following Bernanke remarks

US stocks Friday closed out a holiday-shortened week mostly lower as outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called for continued efforts to cement the economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.64 (0.17 percent) to 16,469.99. The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.61 (0.03 percent) to 1,831.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 11.16 (0.27 percent) to 4,131.91. Trading volume was low with many people still on holiday for the New Year and a major snowstorm buffeting the Northeast.

Canadian dollar advances, commodities mixed, traders look to Bernanke comments

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed higher Friday but were off the highs of the day as the greenback strengthened late in the afternoon amid bullish comments on the U.S. economy from outgoing Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The loonie rose 0.3 of a cent to 93.99 cents US as Bernanke said that 2014 could be a better year for the U.S. economy.

Bernanke: 2014 could be better year for US economy as finances improve, gov't restraints ease

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says factors that have kept the economy from accelerating appear to be abating and he foresees stronger growth in 2014. Bernanke says Americans' finances have improved and the outlook for home sales is brighter. He also expects less drag from federal spending cuts and tax increases. Combined, those factors bode well for U.S. economic growth in coming quarters.

US stocks open higher ahead of Bernanke speech

US stocks Friday opened higher ahead of a series of appearances by top US Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Ben Bernanke. Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 42.64 (0.26 percent) to 16,483.99. The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 3.45 (0.19 percent) to 1,835.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 4.31 (0.10 percent) at 4,147.38.

Americas News Agenda for January 3

Duty Editor: Stephanie Griffith Tel: +1 202 414 0541 What's happening in the Americas on Friday: + US Northeast braces for major snow storm NEW YORK: The northeastern United States braces for snow, high winds and frigid temperatures -- the first major storm of the year. Picture (US-WEATHER) -- OTHER AGENDA ITEMS -- CHICAGO: Automakers report US vehicle sales in December (US-AUTO-SALES)

Americas News Agenda for January 3

Duty Editor: Stephanie Griffith Tel: +1 202 414 0541 What's happening in the Americas on Friday: + US Northeast braces for major snow storm NEW YORK: The northeastern United States braces for snow, high winds and frigid temperatures -- the first major storm of the year. Picture (US-WEATHER) -- OTHER AGENDA ITEMS -- CHICAGO: Automakers report US vehicle sales in December (US-AUTO-SALES)

Bernanke notes "bad luck" timing of Europe's debt crisis a reason for subpar US recovery

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. economy's slow recovery from the Great Recession has been subpar for several reasons, including the extensive damage from the housing bust and tight budgets at all levels of government. But he also blamed the anemic pace of the recovery on "some bad luck," saying Europe's debt troubles slowed the global economy at a critical time. "Given all the things we have faced, it is not shocking that the recovery has been tepid," he said during a news conference after the Fed's two-day policy meeting.

Bernanke says Fed likely to trim bond purchases further next year in similar "modest" steps

WASHINGTON - Chairman Ben Bernanke says the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to slow its bond purchases is a sign of progress and he expects the Fed to take "similar moderate steps" throughout next year to reduce the purchases further if the economy shows continued improvement. Bernanke made the comments at a news conference after the Fed announced it would begin to reduce its bond purchases by $10 billion in January. Still, Bernanke cautioned that the Fed's further reductions in the purchases remain dependent on data.
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