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Business Highlights

The joint "stalking horse" bid would set the floor for an auction process that lets competitors make better offers. A judge would have to approve any final sale.

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US home prices accelerate in November

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. home prices accelerated in November compared with a year ago, pushed higher by rising sales and a tighter supply of available homes.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.5 percent in November compared with the same month a year ago. That's the largest year-over-year gain in six years.

All but one of the cities in the index posted annual gains. The largest gain was in Phoenix, where prices jumped nearly 23 percent. It was followed by San Francisco, where prices rose 12.7 percent, and Detroit, where they increased 11.9 percent.

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3 months after Sandy, victims still waiting for relief

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Devon Lawrence neatly stacked bricks on the gas burner of his kitchen stove and turned up the blue flame, creating a sort of radiator that warmed the ice-cold room.

His two-story house in the Far Rockaway section of Queens hasn't had working heat since Superstorm Sandy's floodwaters destroyed the oil burner in the basement. Now mold is growing upstairs because the house has been cold and damp for so long.

Lawrence wakes early every morning to heat the bricks and light a kerosene space heater while his 75-year-old mother sits in bed in a hat and gloves.

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Pfizer 4Q net jumps on sale of nutrition business

Drugmaker Pfizer Inc.'s fourth-quarter results easily beat Wall Street expectations, driving up its stock, as profit more than quadrupled, due to tighter spending and a $4.8 billion gain from selling its nutrition business.

Those boosts offset competition from generic drugs hurting sales of Lipitor and other medicines.

The world's biggest drugmaker said Tuesday that its net income was $6.32 billion, or 85 cents per share, up from $1.44 billion, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

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