The Briefcase: Shoppers should expect discounts
by From wire reports
December 20, 2012 12:19 AM | 890 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW YORK — When it comes to fat holiday discounts, better late than never.

This holiday shopping season, many stores haven’t been offering the same blockbuster deals as they did last year. Instead, they’ve dangled offers of free shipping and no-fee layaways to lure shoppers.

But during the final weekend before Christmas, shoppers should expect to see more “70 percent off” and “buy one, get one free” signs as stores try to salvage a season that so far has been disappointing.

10-calorie soda to be released

NEW YORK — When it comes to the calories in diet soda, Dr Pepper thinks 10 is the new zero.

Starting next month, the country’s No. 3 soft drink company plans to roll out 10-calorie versions of five of its biggest soda brands: 7-Up, Sunkist, Canada Dry, RC Cola and A&W Root Beer. The drinks are an extension of Dr Pepper Ten, which was launched last year as a better-tasting alternative for men who don’t like the image or taste of diet soda.

But the new 10-calories sodas are being marketed to both men and women.

Unlike traditional diet sodas that use only artificial sweeteners and have zero calories, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. says its 10-calorie sweetener mix has just enough high-fructose corn syrup to overcome any reservations people might have about the weak or cloying taste of diet drinks. And by taking away most the calories — a can of regular typically has about 150 calories — the company is washing away much of the guilt.

U.S. wants ‘balanced’ trading

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is seeking a more balanced trade relationship with China at talks Wednesday that could set the tone for cooperation after political transitions in the world’s two largest economies.

The annual joint commission on commerce and trade meeting comes weeks after President Barack Obama’s re-election and the elevation of new leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Few concrete outcomes are expected, but Washington will be looking for signs of the economic policy direction under new Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The U.S. wants China to stimulate domestic demand and become less reliant on export growth and allow more market access for American companies.

Getco buying Knight Capital

NEW YORK — Nearly five months after a major software malfunction at Knight Capital roiled financial markets, the trading firm has agreed to sell itself to a competitor, Getco, in a cash-and-stock deal that the companies value at $1.4 billion.

Knight shareholders can choose $3.75 per share in cash or one share of stock in the new holding company. The per-share price — which is more than the $3.50 per share that Getco offered last month — is a 13 percent premium to Knight's Tuesday closing price. But it's a fraction of the company's worth before the meltdown.

Knight Capital Group Inc. has one of the most advanced platforms for trading brokerages. The Jersey City, N.J., company takes stock trading orders from brokers like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade and routes them to the New York Stock Exchange and other exchanges.

Swiss bank to pay $1.5B

GENEVA — Swiss bank UBS agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 billion in fines for trying to manipulate a key interest rate that affects borrowers around the world.

The settlement with U.S., British and Swiss regulators caps a tough year for the company and the reputation of the global banking industry. The fine on UBS, which will also see two former traders charged with conspiracy, is triple the amount that British bank Barclays PLC agreed to pay in June to settle similar charges.

And it comes a week after HSBC agreed to pay nearly $2 billion to settle allegations of laundering money for Mexican drug cartels and countries under U.S. embargoes, such as Iran.
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