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Last-Ditch Effort to Avoid Automatic Spending Cuts: Hot Trends

Stocks in this article: CVC P

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Popular searches on the Internet include spending cuts as $85 billion in federal spending cuts will go into effect Friday unless President Obama and Congress can come to a last-minute agreement.

The pending cuts are tied back to a deal to increase the debt ceiling in August 2011. Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse over how to replace the cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over nine years. Of that amount, $85 billion would occur in the remainder of this fiscal year.

Although Obama is set to meet with congressional leaders Friday morning, there is little expectation that a deal will be reached to stave off the automatic cuts. The president is required by law to sign an order that will reduce federal spending by 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

As the cuts likely wouldn't take effect for a few weeks, there is hope that a solution would still be reached. If no resolution is found, the Congressional Budget Office said budget reductions will likely cause about a 0.6 percentage-point drop in economic growth this year. Obama has warned that sequestration could potentially devastate a shaky economy.

Cablevision Systems (CVC) is trending as the cable company reported a fourth-quarter operating loss, dragged down by Hurricane Sandy.

Cablevision reported a net loss from continuing operations of $83.7 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with a profit of $60.5 million, or 22 cents, a year ago. Sales dropped 1.6% to $1.66 billion, below analysts' expectations of $1.7 billion.

The company also lost more customers than analysts predicted. Cablevision reported a loss of 50,000 video customers, 5,000 high-speed Internet subscribers and 10,000 voice customers.

CEO James Dolan said challenges related to Sandy "had a strong negative impact" on the company's fourth-quarter results. About $111 million in costs were added during the period due to Sandy.

The company's programming costs are expected to rise about 12% this year. Cablevision already announced it was raising prices by $2.98 a month to cover rising costs of sports programming as well as charging its Internet subscribers another $5 a month.

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