Dec. 13 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks break winning streak as fiscal cliff debate overshadows positive economic signals; BlackBerry 10 gets thumbs up from U.S. agency; Google Maps back on iPad, iPhone; Spring offers $2.1 billion for Clearwire. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street snaps a six-day rally as encouraging economic signs are overshadowed by fiscal cliff concerns. Stocks suffered through their steepest decline in a month. Jobless claims dropped close to a four-year low last week. The labor market is seeing slow, yet steady improvement after Super storm Sandy temporarily disrupted progress. Retail sales bounced back in November following October's decline, And inflation remains tame. Producer prices dropped in November due to lower energy costs. All in all, economists say the economy is rebounding quickly from headaches caused by Super storm Sandy but growth will still be lackluster this quarter due to worries of possible mandatory spending cuts and tax hikes. Tech stocks were the news flavor of the day. BlackBerry is getting a second chance. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit says it will give the BlackBerry 10 a try after ditching older versions in favor of the iPhone. That was good enough for a 4.1 percent jump in U.S. listed shares of device maker Research in Motion. And sticking with the second time around, Apple is once again making Google Maps available for iPhones and iPads, although its much-maligned Apple Map app will still be the default. Shares of Google saw a small bounce, while Apple reversed gains seen the day before. And Sprint Nextel wants the rest of Clearwire it does not already own. It's willing to plop down $2.1 billion for the stake....but analysts say Sprint will have to dig deeper for the wireless service provider. Sprint was down fractionally, while shares of Clearwire jumped about 15 percent. Outside of tech, solar power company SolarCity shines in its market debut. The stock soared about 50 percent after a highly-anticipated IPO. Finally, the European Central Bank gets new powers to regulate euro zone banks but markets needed a magic wand to inspire confidence. Shares ended lower in Germany, France and the U.K.