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Stocks are flat ... Pending home sales level off...Ford expects to be N. America's top selling brand

Monday - 12/30/2013, 11:40am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. markets are little changed as they start the last week of 2013. The Dow Jones industrial average is up 2 points at 16,481. The S&P 500 is down 1 point at 1,840 and the Nasdaq is down 8 points at 4,148.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes in November was essentially unchanged from October, suggesting sales are stabilizing after several months of declines. The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index ticked up to 101.7 from 101.5 in October. Still, home re-sales should reach 5.1 million this year, the best total in seven years.

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Ford says retail sales have risen 15 percent through November of this year. The automaker says it expects to sell at least 2.4 million Ford-brand vehicles this year, enough to make it North America's top-selling brand. It says it expects December sales to "grow substantially" compared to last December.

NIWOT, Colo. (AP) -- The company that makes Crocs shoes is getting a $200 million bailout from a private equity fund. Crocs says it will use the money from Blackstone, plus cash on hand, for a $350 million share buyback. Crocs shares peaked above $75 in 2007 as buyers snapped up the clogs known for being comfortable but ugly. But it hasn't been able to add new products with the same popularity. Crocs CEO John McCarvel will retire.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung is launching a 110-inch TV that has four times the resolution of standard high-definition TVs. Today's launch of the giant television set reflects global TV makers' move toward ultra HD TVs. The TV's sticker price is about $150,000 in South Korea, and it'll be available in China, the Middle East and Europe.

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