3-day respite on Wall Street...Global accord reached on mercury...No new regulations for tax preparers

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Associated Press

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 19 at 1:02 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors have a three-day weekend to digest the third straight week of gains by the major stock indexes. U.S. markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On Friday, better earnings from General Electric and Morgan Stanley helped the stock market inch higher. The Dow gained nearly 54 points to end at 13,649.70. The S&P 500 index rose 5 points, while the Nasdaq composite fell 1 point.

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil remains at a four-month high after new data showed China's economy rebounded and a global demand forecast rose. On Friday, benchmark oil for February delivery rose 7 cents to finish at $95.56 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since Sept. 17, when crude was above $96 a barrel.

GENEVA (AP) — A new and legally binding international treaty to reduce harmful emissions of mercury has been adopted by more than 140 nations, capping four years of difficult negotiations. The accord aims to cut mercury pollution from mining, utility plants and a host of products and industrial processes, by setting enforceable limits and encouraging shifts to alternatives in which mercury is not used, released or emitted.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge says the IRS lacks authority to impose new regulations, including a competency exam, on hundreds of thousands of tax preparers. The ruling Friday bars the IRS from implementing a host of regulations that would have required tax preparers to pass a qualifying exam, pay an annual application fee, and take 15 hours of continuing-education courses. The IRS argued the new regulations were needed to address a growing problem of poorly prepared returns.

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing will stop delivering new 787s to customers until its electrical system is fixed. But the aircraft maker says it won't stop production at its assembly facilities in Washington state and South Carolina. The 787s are grounded until Boeing can prove the batteries are safe. Aviation safety and battery experts say it's likely recent fires on two Boeing 787 Dreamliners were caused by overcharging lithium ion batteries.

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