The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ ___

Euro in danger, Europe races for debt solution

PARIS (AP) â¿¿ European leaders rushed Monday to stop a rampaging debt crisis that threatened to shatter their 12-year-old experiment in a common euro currency and devastate the world economy.

One proposal gaining prominence would have countries cede some control over their budgets to a central European authority. In a measure of how rapidly the peril has grown, that idea would have been unthinkable even three months ago.

World stock markets, glimpsing hope that Europe might finally be shocked into stronger action, staged a big rally. The Dow Jones industrial average in New York rose almost 300 points. In France, stocks rose 5 percent, the most in a month.

More relevant to the crisis, borrowing costs for European nations stabilized. They had risen alarmingly in recent weeks â¿¿ in Greece, then in Italy and Spain, then across the continent, including in Germany, the strongest economy in Europe.

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NY judge rejects $285 million SEC-Citigroup agreement

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ A judge on Monday used unusually harsh language to strike down a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission over toxic mortgage securities, saying he couldn't tell whether the deal was fair and criticizing regulators for shielding the public from details of the firm's wrongdoing.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said the public has a right to know what happens in cases that touch on "the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives." In such cases, the SEC has a responsibility to ensure that the truth emerges, he wrote.

Rakoff said he had spent hours trying to assess the settlement but concluded that he had not been given "any proven or admitted facts upon which to exercise even a modest degree of independent judgment."

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Shoppers snap up Cyber Monday deals

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Shoppers seem to be just as enthusiastic about shopping on their computers and smartphones on Cyber Monday as they were about finding deals over the weekend.

Online sales on Cyber Monday, which a retail trade group started in 2005 to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, were up by mid-afternoon by 15 percent from a year ago, according to data from IBM Benchmark. Meanwhile, sales from mobile devices were up 7.4 percent. The group did not give dollar amounts.

The Cyber Monday numbers point to Americans' growing comfort with using their personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop. Over the past few years, big chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, have been offering more and better incentives like hourly deals and free shipping, to capitalize on that trend. It's important for retailers to make a good showing during the holiday shopping season, when they bring in up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

Exuberant shopping helped send stocks soaring Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index broke a seven-day losing streak. And the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 291 points, its biggest gain in a month.

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GM to offer free loaner cars to Volt owners

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ General Motors, concerned about the image of its Chevrolet Volt, is offering free loaner vehicles to owners worried about their electric cars catching fire.

The offer comes after a government safety agency said Friday that it is investigating fires involving the Volt's lithium-ion battery packs following crash tests. Thus far, the Volt tests have not raised concerns about the safety of other electric cars, the agency has said.

GM said on Monday that the vehicle is safe. But it will contact owners of the more than 5,000 Volts sold in North America since December 2010 to reassure them. It will offer the loaners to ensure owners are satisfied and confident in their purchase. GM has not put a time limit on how long customers can keep the loaners but said the offer is not a response to demands from customers.

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OECD issues stark warning on global economy

PARIS (AP) â¿¿ The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday policy makers around the world must "be prepared to face the worst," as the economic impact of Europe's debt crisis threatens to spread around the developed world.

The Paris-based OECD said in its latest Economic Outlook that continued failure by EU leaders to stem the debt crisis that has spread from Greece to much-bigger Italy "could massively escalate economic disruption" and end in "highly devastating outcomes."

The half-yearly update also recommended urgently boosting the EU bailout fund and called on Europe's central bank to do more to stem the crisis.

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Sales of new homes rise in October, but prices fall

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Slightly more Americans bought new homes in October, a hopeful sign for the troubled housing market. But the median sales price fell to its lowest level of the year, and the overall sales pace is trailing last year's â¿¿ the worst performance in half a century.

The report suggests housing continues to drag on the U.S. economy and is a long way from recovering.

New-home sales increased 1.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. That's less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

September's figures were also revised down significantly to show a weaker pace than first estimated.

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Icahn makes a run at Commercial Metals

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Carl Icahn said Monday that he wants to buy Commercial Metals Co. for about $1.73 billion and combine parts of it with metals recycling businesses that he already owns.

The billionaire investor, who already owns almost 10 percent of Commercial Metals, said he also plans to nominate three of his associates to be directors on its board.

Icahn's offer of $15 per share represents a 31 percent premium over the scrap metal processor's closing stock price on Friday.

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Anadarko sees more gas from huge Mozambique field

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Monday that a natural gas field discovered off the coast of Mozambique is the largest the company has ever found.

The Houston oil and gas company said the East African offshore field contains 15 trillion to 30 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, up from an initial estimate of 6 trillion cubic feet. That's enough to satisfy U.S. natural gas demand for a year.

Africa's eastern coast has long been considered a peripheral player among world natural gas producers. But the Anadarko discovery, along with a similarly large find by Italian energy company Eni SpA in October, has elevated Mozambique as a potentially major gas exporter.

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KKR to buy Capital Safety for $1.12 billion

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP said Monday that it agreed to buy Capital Safety for $1.12 billion. Capital Safety makes body harnesses, lifelines, hoists and other equipment to protect people from falls at industrial and residential sites.

KKR is acquiring the company from private equity firm Arle Capital Partners.

KKR said it sees attractive prospects in the fall protection business because of its ties to the energy and infrastructure industries, with potential for growth as more safety regulations are implemented worldwide.

On its website, Capital Safety lists 11 facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Its products are used in the oil and gas, construction, transportation and utilities sectors.

The deal is expected to close in January, subject to regulatory approval.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 291.23 points, or 2.6 percent, to 11,523.01. The S&P 500 rose 33, or 2.9 percent, to 1,192.55. The Nasdaq composite rose 85, or 3.5 percent, to 2,527.34.

Benchmark crude rose $1.44 to end the day at $98.21 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price foreign oil â¿¿ including much imported by U.S. refineries to make gasoline â¿¿ rose $2.26 to finish at $108.02 a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, heating oil rose 4.26 cents to finish at $2.9699 per gallon, and gasoline futures rose 6.92 cents to finish at $2.5181 per gallon. Natural gas fell 17.8 cents, or 5 percent, to end the day at $3.3640 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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