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Editorial Results (free)

1. Survey: US consumer confidence near a 7-year high -

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence this month reached its highest point in nearly seven years, boosted by strong job gains.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index rose for a fourth straight month to 92.4 from 90.3 in July. The August reading is the highest since October 2007, two months before the Great Recession officially began.

2. Another milestone: S&P 500 closes above 2,000 -

It was a big round-number day for the stock market.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed a hair above 2,000 points Tuesday, 16 years after it closed above 1,000 points for the first time.

3. TiVo to make version for those without cable -

NEW YORK (AP) — Here's a sign more households are going without cable or satellite TV: TiVo Inc. is making a digital video recorder just for so-called cord-cutters.

4. Stores have a solid start to back-to-school season -

NEW YORK (AP) — The back-to-school shopping season is off to a promising start, but retailers may be sacrificing profit for sales.

The National Retail Federation expects the average family with school-aged children to spend $669.28 for back to school items, up 5 percent from last year. That would be the second-highest amount since the industry trade group started tracking spending in 2004.

5. 'Infill King’ John Brittle has a plan to curb urban sprawl. You might not like it -

John G. Brittle Jr. doesn’t have an office. He has a war room. The space, crowded with maps, charts, books, piles of paper and marked-up spreadsheets, is ground zero for InfillNashville, the 10-person team of site selection specialists that Brittle leads at Village Real Estate Services.

6. Electrics, hybrids continue to gain fans, sales -

When JP White bought his Nissan LEAF three years ago this month, the admitted tech geek was drawn to electric cars first – and foremost – by the technology.

But the appeal of bypassing gas pumps was not insignificant.

7. US job growth eases but tops 200K for a 6th month -

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers extended their solid hiring into July by adding 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the 5-year-old recovery.

8. GM boosted June sales with discounts to dealers -

As General Motors prepares to report monthly sales results on Friday, a look its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record spate of safety recalls.

9. Ninth inning arrives for Nashville Sounds neighbors -

The ear-popping, eye-dazzling flurry of the fireworks’ finale will signal the end of a season of melancholy, or at least uncertainty, for Abby Buter and her neighbors.

Abby – like all folks in this swath of South Nashville – has become reconciled to the fact the sultry nights when she can sit on her porch and watch fireworks will die with summer, Herschel Greer Stadium’s last as home of the Sounds.

10. Middle Tennessee banks make good consolidation targets -

Prevailing wisdom says community banks need to reach about $1 billion in assets to absorb new regulatory and compliance costs imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Not all bankers agree.

11. Don’t commit 10 deadly sins of email marketing -

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series.

Data released last year by the research firm Return Path shows the average individual receives more than 400 commercial emails per month. These are emails from businesses selling products and services versus email from colleagues, friends or family.

12. Nod to the old, in with the new: Reeves-Sain redefines model for hometown pharmacy -

The cold, thick, handmade milkshake sold at the Reeves-Sain drugstore soda fountain comes in a stainless steel canister, too big for the serving glass.

That old-fashioned shake draws customers to the hometown store on Memorial Boulevard in Murfreesboro, especially on hot summer days. And it’s a specialty not available at the chain drug stores that seem to occupy every street corner in Middle Tennessee.

13. Biden to welcome governors to Nashville meeting -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden will help kick off the National Governors Association summer meeting in Nashville next week.

The event begins on July 10 and runs through July 13. The agenda includes discussions of innovations around the states in areas like education, workforce, health care, veterans and jobs.

14. Events -

Meet the Nashville Emerging Leader Awards Finalists. The Nashville Emerging Leader Awards recognize Nashville’s young professionals for significant accomplishments in their chosen career fields, as well as their commitment and contribution to the community. The reception and networking event honors the finalists of the 2014 NELAs. Wednesday, 5:30-7 p.m., Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, Massey Hall, 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville. Information: Nashvillechamber.com, 743-3063.

15. Music City's creative class struggles with rising home costs in traditional havens like East Nashville -

Neighborhoods such as East Nashville, 12 South and Belmont have traditionally been the refuge of Nashville’s creative class – affordable havens with varying degrees of grit and underdevelopment.

16. GM ousts 15 employees over ignition-switch scandal -

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — General Motors said Thursday it has forced out 15 employees for their role in the deadly ignition-switch scandal and will set up a compensation fund for crash victims, as an internal investigation blamed the debacle on engineering ignorance and bureaucratic dithering, not a deliberate cover-up.

17. Events -

School Board Candidate Forum. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Urban League of Middle Tennessee and the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, is hosting four forums with candidates for the Metropolitan Board of Education in June. Tonight's event features District 4 candidates Rhonda Dixon, Anna Shepherd and Pam Swoner, 5-6:30 p.m., at Two Rivers Middle School Media Center, 2991 McGavock Pike. Open to the public, each forum will offer the opportunity for candidates to share their vision for Metro Nashville Public Schools. All forums will be recorded by Nashville Education, Community and Arts Television for later rebroadcast on Comcast Channel 10 in Davidson County. Supervised activities for young children will be available during each forum. Additional sessions:

18. GM: Incompetence, negligence led to delayed recall -

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — General Motors says a pattern of incompetence and neglect, not a larger conspiracy or cover-up, is to blame for a long-delayed recall of defective ignition switches.

GM CEO Mary Barra, who released the results of an internal investigation into the company's missteps on Thursday, said 15 employees — many of them senior legal and engineering executives — have been forced out of the company for failing to disclose the defect, which the company links to 13 deaths and 54 crashes in which the air bags didn't deploy. Five other employees have been disciplined.

19. Haslam plan targets plan prescription drug abuse -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam and Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Douglas Varney on Tuesday unveiled a multi-year plan to fight prescription drug abuse in Tennessee.

The state estimates that in the past year, nearly 221,000 Tennesseans have used prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes, and that 69,000 of them are addicted to the drugs.

20. Apple's Beats buy is two-sided for music streaming -

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats sheds light on a rarely recognized reality in the streaming music industry: It's hard to succeed in the business without offering other products and services.

21. Why do some Realtors sabotage themselves? -

With baseball season in full swing, I listened to the Atlanta Braves game on the radio over the weekend and once again lamented the death of Skip Caray, once the voice of the Braves who died in 2008.

22. Struggling homeowners find help via AHR -

At the height of the foreclosure crisis, Affordable Housing Resources kept many people in their homes. Now the agency is working to help more people get into home ownership for the first time.

Since its founding more than 20 years ago, AHR has had the twin goals of obtaining and maintaining home ownership, but in recent years the economic downturn has meant its buying efforts were eclipsed by those designed to keep people in their homes.

23. CMA Fest artists find big payoff in free gig -

CMA Music Festival is much more than a bunch of bologna to all involved, but that working-class delicacy does provide a Robert’s Western World-style gauge of the week’s impact.

“The fried bologna is flying out the door,” says affable office manager Julie Rahimi (“I keep the heartbeat beating at Robert’s”), as a simple illustration of the greenback effect “in the heart of the action” during the week that every year swells in proportion and importance for merchants, performers, organizers and the city itself.

24. Amazon escalates standoff with publisher Hachette -

NEW YORK (AP) — If you're hoping to pre-order books by J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly and other Hachette Book Group authors, you'll have to go somewhere besides Amazon.com.

An ongoing standoff between Amazon and one of the leading New York publishers has intensified. The online retailer, which already had been slowing delivery on a wide range of Hachette titles, has removed pre-order buttons for such books as Connelly's "The Burning Room" and Rowling's "The Silkworm," a detective story she wrote under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

25. US stocks edge higher in afternoon trading -

Stocks held on to modest gains in afternoon trading Thursday, building on the prior day's rebound. Investors were encouraged by reports on Chinese manufacturing, U.S. home sales and some positive earnings from Best Buy, Dollar Tree and other retailers.

26. As Alibaba prepares for IPO, tech stocks retreat -

NEW YORK (AP) — It's a tough time for a tech debut. As e-commerce giant Alibaba gets ready for a blockbuster stock sale in the next few months, technology shares are retreating.

For two years, investors bid up biotechnology and internet companies, enticed by their strong growth prospects in an otherwise weak U.S. recovery. But they have sold off those stocks since late February, realizing they can find better value elsewhere. So-called growth stocks like Amazon and Groupon are out of favor. Companies that pay healthy dividends and have a long record of profitability, like utilities, are in.

27. As Alibaba prepares for IPO, tech stocks retreat -

NEW YORK (AP) — It's a tough time for a tech debut.

As e-commerce giant Alibaba gets ready for a blockbuster stock sale in the next few months, technology shares are retreating. For two years, investors bid up biotechnology and internet companies, enticed by their strong growth prospects in an otherwise weak U.S. recovery. But they have sold off those stocks since late February, realizing they can find better value elsewhere. So-called growth stocks like Amazon and Groupon are out of favor. Companies that pay healthy dividends and have a long record of profitability, like utilities, are in.

28. Mobile Internet shakes up stodgy China industries -

BEIJING (AP) — Alibaba, the e-commerce giant planning a blockbuster share sale in the U.S., shook up China's vast but sleepy retailing industry by popularizing online shopping. Now it and China's other Internet companies are mounting challenges in areas from banking to broadcasting.

29. Events -

Real Estate Investors Network Real Estate Investors Network. Williamson County Lunch Group. Rehabbers, builders, commercial, mini-storage, wholesalers, private lenders, transaction funders, hard-money lenders, bankers, title attorneys, realtors, and vendors discuss deals, the state of the market, and how they can help each other prosper. Today, 11:15 a.m., Bosco’s Restaurant & Brewery, 2000 Meridian Blvd, Ste 110, Franklin. Information: reintn.org. Additional April opportunities include:

30. Nissan leads rebound in April auto sales -

DETROIT (AP) — American car buyers came out of hibernation in April to spend on pickup trucks and SUVs, fueling an auto sales rebound that analysts expect to last the rest of the year.

Nissan led the way with an 18.3 percent increase over a year ago, with sales of the redesigned Rogue small SUV up almost 27 percent. Chrysler posted a 14 percent gain, boosted by a big jump in sales of Jeep SUVs. Both companies reported record April sales. And Toyota sales grew by 13 percent, led by a double-digit gain in truck sales.

31. US auto sales expected to rise in April -

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. consumers continued buying cars at a fast clip in April as the last snow melted from dealers' lots.

After spending the harsh winter at home, car buyers were out in force in March, pushing sales to their fastest pace in five months. Analysts expect that trend to continue in April.

32. Corporate websites must be more than online brochures -

While reports of the death of corporate websites have been exaggerated, there’s no denying traditional sites are experiencing significant traffic declines.

WebTrends recently analyzed the number of unique visits to Fortune 100 websites.

33. Events -

Momentum in Bellevue. Matt Wiltshire, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, is the featured speaker and will discuss opportunities that lie ahead. 7 p.m., CrossPoint Church, 7675 Memphis-Bristol Hwy, Hwy. 70.

34. Wal-Mart brings one-stop shopping to car insurance -

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is bringing one-stop shopping to another area: auto insurance.

The world's largest retailer has teamed up with AutoInsurance.com to let shoppers quickly find and buy insurance policies online in real time to cut down costs. The service is available immediately in eight states including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma, and will be available nationwide in the next few months. Shoppers can log on to AutoInsurance.com or access the site through Wal-Mart's website at www.Walmart.com/autoinsurance.

35. A fading middle-class perk: lower mortgage rates -

WASHINGTON (AP) — For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates.

Now, even that perk is fading away.

Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

36. Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs -

NEW YORK (AP) — Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they've been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs are on the way.

Industrial companies such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar have been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. That means other large companies are investing in expensive equipment they need to grow their business, economists say.

37. Tips for selling to first-time buyers -

Savvy salespeople adjust their approach when selling to first-time vs. seasoned buyers in their category – especially when selling complex products or business services.

Approach them like two sides of the same coin and you could end up with an unhappy customer and a hit to your brand’s reputation.

38. Events -

Nashville Chamber Business After Hours. An opportunity to develop relationships, walk away with new connections and market your business to more than 200 attendees. Pre-registration required. today, 5:30-7:30 p.m., The Factory at Franklin Jamison Hall, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin. Information: nashvillechamber.com, 743-3063.

39. Events -

Real Estate Investors Network Real Estate Investors Network. Ca$h Flow & Millionaire Maker Games. Learn financial strategies without having to invest any of your own cash. These games are fun and educational ways to learn about wealth creation, managing assets and liabilities and escaping from the “rat race.” Today, 6 p.m., REIN Education Center, 2416 Music Valley Drive, Ste 151, Nashville. Information: reintn.org. Additional April opportunity:

40. Events -

International Business Council Luncheon. "Reforming Reform in China: The State, Markets and Foreign Enterprises” is the topic for today. Dr. Ken DeWoskin, chairman of the Deloitte China Research and Insight Center, and Chris Cooper, Americas leader, Deloitte Chinese Services Group, will share their points of view on useful questions and best answers in regards to China, ranging from general economic, regulatory, and market trends through sector and M&A activities, reform promises and prospects, and MNC strategic responses. 11:30 a.m.-noon, registration and networking. Noon-1 p.m., program and lunch. Baker Donelson Event Space, 211 Commerce Street, Nashville.

41. Amazon unveils Fire TV set top streaming device -

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is making a bid to enter living rooms with Amazon Fire TV, a new set-top box that allows streaming of online video, music and other content to televisions.

The company says the $99 device has better speed, performance and search functions than other streaming boxes such as Apple TV and Google Chromecast. But Amazon is coming late to the streaming set-top game, and it remains to be seen whether the company is offering enough new and better services to lure customers away from their current streaming methods.

42. Graves, Fox find formula for online success with StyleBlueprint -

Liza Graves and Elizabeth Fox launched the online lifestyle publication StyleBlueprint.com in January 2009 with the goal of purpose of connecting women with their community.

43. Windows 8 updates expected at Microsoft conference -

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft is following through on a promise to update its Windows 8 operating system on a regular basis to respond to consumers' complaints and other feedback.

Just months after the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft is preparing changes to make it easier for people to use Windows with traditional keyboard and mouse controls. Among other things, Microsoft will add search, power and settings buttons to the Start page, so people don't have to figure out how to pull those functions from the right side of their screens. The update also promises easier ways to close apps.

44. Events -

Benefits of Captive Companies in Tennessee. Join Baker Donelson for a special luncheon featuring Michael A. Corbett and Julie McPeak, who will talk about the cost, investment, advantages and upkeep of a captive. Hosted by insurance regulatory attorneys David Broemel and Lee Harrell. Tax attorney Scott Smith also will be on hand to answer any questions about federal and state tax issues and planning opportunities involving captive insurance companies. Today, 11:30 a.m., lunch and registration. Noon-1 p.m., program. Baker Donelson Center, 211 Commerce Street, First Floor Special Events Center, Nashville. Information: rsvp@bakerdonelson.com.

45. Tax cuts = less revenue? Basic math hits home -

With Tennessee having collected $176 million less in taxes than expected, Gov. Bill Haslam finds himself in a tight spot.

The budget situation is bad enough that Haslam has declared this might not be the best year to cut taxes. You know it’s bad when a Republican doesn’t want to cut taxes.

46. Experts reveal what the best-dressed country music acts are (should be) wearing -

About 15 years ago, the guys in country group Lonestar walked a red carpet in shiny suits, proudly declaring to reporters that they’d just bought those suits at a chain store called Italian Connection, in the Hickory Hollow Mall.

47. From Russia with style: Olia Zavozina's unlikely rise to wedding gown stardom -

Nashville bridal designer Olia Zavozina, 29, never imagined when she was designing dresses for her Barbie dolls as a child in Russia that one day her creations would grace the likes of living dolls.

48. Tech companies, Citigroup tug US stocks lower -

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mostly lower Thursday as further declines in technology companies outweighed encouraging economic news. Citigroup fell 6 percent after the Federal Reserve denied the bank's plan to raise its dividend and buy back more stock. Most other major banks won approval to raise their dividends.

49. Stocks move higher on Wall Street; Sonic gains -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks got a lift Tuesday as health care companies bounced back after a heavy sell-off.

Biotechnology stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose for the first time in five days after a sharp sell-off that prompted by concern over costs of the drugs they make. Merck and Boston Scientific were among the companies that rose.

50. Wal-Mart's new tool gives competitors prices -

NEW YORK (AP) — The "Every Day Low Price" king is trying to shake up the world of pricing once again.

Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that it has rolled out an online tool that allows shoppers to compare its prices on 80,000 food and household products to those of its competitors. The world's largest retailer began offering the feature that's called "Savings Catcher" on its website late last month in seven big markets that include Dallas, San Diego and Atlanta.

51. Wal-Mart to accept video game trade-ins in stores -

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart plans to expand its video game trade-in program to its stores, offering store credit for thousands of video games.

The world's largest retailer plans to let video game owners trade in used video games online and in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores for store credit but not cash. Previously they offered trade-ins on a more limited basis online.

52. US lags as commercial drones take off around globe -

WASHINGTON (AP) — A small, four-rotor drone hovered over Washington Nationals players for a few days during spring training in Florida last month, taking publicity photos impossible for a human photographer to capture. But no one got the Federal Aviation Administration's permission first.

53. ‘Freezenomics’ keeps high-end buyers home -

Freezenomics, a term being bandied about these days, refers to the negative effect cold weather is having on the economy.

While Nashville has endured its longest, if not statistically its coldest, winter in memory, real estate sales continue to climb, statistics from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors show. Surprisingly, the pending sales numbers held strong as well, indicating more records ahead.

54. A bid of $1.8 billion suits Jos A Bank just fine -

NEW YORK (AP) — Looks like the best suitor won. After an extended chase that included overtures on both sides, Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will combine to create the nation's fourth largest seller of men's wear.

55. US stocks waver between small gains and losses -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were moving between small gains and losses in morning trading Thursday as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addressed the Senate Banking Committee. Investors were also looking over quarterly results from several U.S. retailers and other companies. Best Buy and J.C. Penney were among the early gainers.

56. Lawn & Garden Show adds wine festival -

The Nashville Lawn and Garden Show has added a wine festival to the mix as the event celebrates 25 years of showcasing the best of the best of local agriculture.

In partnership with the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance, the festival will incorporate locally produced wine from some of the state’s wineries for two days of the four-day show.

57. Late-payment rate on US auto loans rose in 4Q -

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. car owners are carrying higher auto loan balances but still making timely monthly payments.

Auto loan debt per borrower grew 4.4 percent to $16,769 in the final quarter of 2013 from a year earlier — the 11th consecutive quarter to post an annual increase, according to data released Tuesday by credit reporting agency TransUnion.

58. Men's Wearhouse lifts takeover bid for Jos A Bank -

NEW YORK (AP) — Will they or won't they? Shares of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank jumped on Monday after Men's Wearhouse said it was boosting its takeover offer yet again — spurring hopes that the months-long saga might finally be coming to an end.

59. Stocks edge higher as investors assess earnings -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher Thursday as investors assessed the latest corporate earnings and some weak economic reports. Goodyear Tire & Rubber soared after reporting a big earnings gain, while Cisco Systems and Whole Foods dropped after releasing disappointing results.

60. Touches of Nashville highlight downtown hotel renovations -

When the Omni Nashville opened a few months ago, embracing the best of Nashville in its food, design and staff was a key component in the hotel’s plan.

No matter where the visitor started their journey, from Japan to Jersey, Omni wanted each traveler to know they were firmly planted in Music City.

61. Nissan, Chrysler sales up; Ford, GM, VW down -

DETROIT (AP) — Frigid temperatures and snowy weather generally kept buyers away from auto showrooms last month, with Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen all reporting declines from a year ago.

62. US stocks end tough January with another decline -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock investors were hit from all sides in January.

Concerns about the global economy and U.S. company earnings, as well as turmoil in emerging markets, led major indexes to their worst month in two years. However, many investors remain hopeful that the problems in January will not spill over into the rest of 2014.

63. Doberhuahua? Super Bowl ads vie for attention -

With one of the most-watched television broadcasts in history just days away, buzz is building over which big brands will take home Best in Show in this year’s Super Bowl advertising competition.

64. What to Expect When You’re Expecting -

S&P 500 corporate earnings in 2013 likely grew about 6 percent. The S&P 500 price index, however, grew 29.6 percent. The difference between the growth in earnings and the growth in the price index amounts to P/E expansion.

65. Grocery wine bill negotiations near breakthrough -

NASHVILLE (AP) - After years of bitter legislative fights over efforts to allow Tennessee grocery stores to sell wine, groups representing liquor stores and supermarkets are nearing an agreement that would give the measure its best ever chances of becoming law.

66. Best Buy holiday sales fall, shares skid -

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Best Buy said Thursday it had disappointing sales during the holiday shopping season, raising concerns about the consumer electronic retailer's ability to turn around its business.

67. Weak earnings drag US stocks mostly lower -

NEW YORK (AP) — After hitting a record high the day before, stocks were mostly lower Thursday as investors reacted to disappointing results from Best Buy, Citigroup and CSX, a railroad company.

68. Best Buy holiday sales fall, shares skid -

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Best Buy said Thursday that a key sales barometer fell during the holiday shopping season, stung partly by weakness in the U.S. and a retail environment heavy on promotions.

Its stock dropped more than 28 percent in premarket trading.

69. Google says it will buy Nest Labs for $3.2B -

NEW YORK (AP) — Google Inc. will pay $3.2 billion to buy Nest Labs, which develops high-tech versions of devices like thermostats and smoke detectors.

70. Nashville building spree is less about Mayor Karl Dean, more about the city’s 10-year-old ‘50-year plan’ -

If you want to see where a mayor’s true priorities lie, just look at his capital spending plan.

More than any other area of government, it’s where a mayor’s genuine wishes and priorities are expressed.

71. A weak start to 2014 continues for stock market -

NEW YORK (AP) — The Standard & Poor's 500 index notched its worst start to a year in almost a decade Monday, closing lower for the third straight trading day.

Although the declines for stocks in the New Year have been modest, the direction has been consistently down. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has fallen 1.2 percent from its most recent record close on Dec. 31.

72. US consumer confidence rises on better job outlook -

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month on a better outlook for hiring and growth, supporting other signs that show the economy could accelerate in 2014.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence rose to 78.1 in December, up from 72 in the previous month. November's figure was revised up from 70.4. The December increase followed three months of declines.

73. Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end -

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses.

74. Signed contracts to buy US homes level off -

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.

75. Stocks barely budge in quiet end-of-year trading -

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market ended a quiet Monday mostly where it began as investors shut their books for what has been an extraordinary year on Wall Street.

76. Obama reversal on health plan gets mixed reviews -

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — President Barack Obama's decision a month ago that allowed people to keep insurance policies once slated for cancellation under the federal health overhaul has received a mixed response from insurers, state regulators and consumers.

77. Churchill Mortgage shifts partial ownership to employees -

In a move designed to give employees more of a stake in the company while also ensuring a smooth exit for founder Mike Hardwick, Churchill Mortgage and its parent company, Churchill Holdings Inc. have become an employee-owned company.

78. Fashion guru Libby Callaway: Why Nashville tops New York -

Libby Callaway breezed into Barista Parlor on a recent Thursday wrapped in an oversized Michaele Vollbracht scarf that she picked up at a vintage shop in Kansas City.

Fresh from “vacation,” a solo road trip to Idaho where her sister lives, she ordered a cup of tea and took a quick breather. The vacation comes in quotes because balancing her client list along with her many creative projects might mean taking a phone call from fashion designer Billy Reid in the middle of the desert. “You have to pull over at the only rest stop for 60 miles and deal with what’s happening.”

79. Apple, other tech stocks lift the broader market -

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose in quiet trading Monday as investors start to close the books on 2013.

Apple helped lift technology stocks after the company reached a deal to sell the iPhone to China's largest wireless carrier.

80. Cuba lifting restriction on purchase of cars -

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba is opening its automobile market and its roads to thousands of late-model cars by eliminating a special permit that sharply restricted the number of people allowed to buy vehicles from the state, the government announced Thursday.

81. Holiday shopping spree not for everyone -

NEW YORK (AP) — Many Americans appear to be watching the annual holiday spending ritual from the sidelines this year.

Money is still tight for some. Others are fed up with commercialism of the holidays. Still others are waiting for bigger bargains.

82. 48 hours in Nashville: Entertaining out-of-town guests over the holidays? Show them the “It City” like a pro! -

“He Stopped Loving Her Today,” proclaims the throat-thickening No. 1 tourist destination for anyone either visiting Nashville or simply trying to show holiday guests around town.

George Jones’ monument, which presides over the mid-section of Woodlawn Memorial Park in Berry Hill, could easily fit in as the first, last, or perhaps bookend stops on a 48-hour tour of Music City USA.

83. Stocks sink as US consumer spending worries deepen -

NEW YORK (AP) — After eight weeks of gains, maybe the stock market pullback long anticipated by investors has arrived.

Stocks fell Tuesday, dragged lower by the Detroit automakers and consumer-focused companies such as GameStop and Amazon.com. The market could be headed for its first weekly decline since early October, putting at risk a remarkable rally that has sent indexes to record highs.

84. Brick-and-mortar stores and Amazon go head-to-head -

NEW YORK (AP) — This holiday season, it's Amazon vs. everyone else. The online giant has attracted customers from the likes of Wal-Mart and Best Buy with low prices and convenient shipping. Now, stores are fighting back and going head-to-head with Amazon as the contest for customers heats up during the busiest shopping period of the year.

85. Why holiday sales could ride on lower gas prices -

WASHINGTON (AP) — No one begs Santa Claus for cheaper gasoline. Yet falling gas prices are shaping up as an unexpected gift for drivers — and for people on their holiday shopping lists.

The average price of gasoline has tumbled 49 cents from its peak this year to $3.29 a gallon, putting it on track for the lowest average since 2010, according to AAA. Because many Americans have had no pay raises, whatever money they're saving on gas has freed up a bit more for other purchases.

86. Variety the key to Porter Flea success -

Meagan Hall, 31, grew up in Rockvale and Murfreesboro before heading to the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville for a degree in textiles and fiber design.

She then moved out to the Pacific Northwest to live for about seven years and returned to Tennessee about a year and half ago.

87. US home permits rise at 5-year high on apartments -

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. developers received approval in October to build apartments at the fastest pace in five years, a trend that could boost economic growth in the final three months of the year.

88. Americans not willing to spend without deals -

NEW YORK (AP) — This holiday season, Americans may not spend their green unless they see more red.

Despite signs that the economy is improving, big store chains like Wal-Mart and Kohl's don't expect Americans to have much holiday shopping cheer unless they see bold, red signs that offer huge discounts. As a result, shoppers are seeing big sales events earlier and more often than in previous holiday seasons.

89. Stocks end mixed on quiet day; energy stocks fall -

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market paused Monday, ending on a mixed note, after a string of records in recent weeks.

Investors had little company-specific news to digest and trading was light ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday later this week. Still, the market was hit with broader geopolitical news. The U.S. and other world powers reached a deal Sunday to limit Iran's nuclear program, an event that dragged down oil prices and energy stocks.

90. That’s a lawn, not a grassy knoll: Conspiracy theories of real estate confronted -

CNN is running a documentary this week titled the “The Assassination of President Kennedy.” Having been a conspiracy buff since reading Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment in 1979, I have watched the show twice and finally, after 34 years, have concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. The chase was fun.

91. Best Buy posts 3Q profit, sales flat -

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy says it Is committed to "winning" the holiday season with price matching, doorbusters and deals as well as its earliest ever opening hours on Thanksgiving — even if that means profit pressure for the electronics retailer in the fourth quarter.

92. Stocks edge lower after disappointing earnings -

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing earnings news helped push the stock market lower on Tuesday.

Electronics retailer Best Buy plunged after saying extended store hours and price-cutting could squeeze its fourth-quarter profit. Campbell Soup fell sharply after reporting that its profit slumped as sales of soups and V8 drinks fell. The two stocks were the biggest decliners in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

93. Jos A Bank drops $2.3B bid for Men's Wearhouse -

HAMPSTEAD, Md. (AP) — Jos. A. Bank withdrew its $2.3 billion offer to buy rival Men's Wearhouse.

Shares of Men's Wearhouse dropped almost 7 percent in premarket trading Friday.

94. Pent-up demand helps 2013 Middle Tennessee home sales soar -

From families who need a house with more room to empty nesters who want less space and everyone in between, homebuyers in the Nashville region have put the recession behind them.

“There was a period of time when people were just not buying and selling,” says Clay Kelton, a Realtor with Pilkerton Realtors. “Now there’s pent-up demand.”

95. All day shopping frenzy on Thanksgiving? -

NEW YORK (AP) — Last Thanksgiving Day, Kimberly Mudge Via's mother, sister and nieces left in the middle of their meals to head for the mall.

Now, Via says she'll never host Thanksgiving dinner for her relatives again.

96. Target to open earlier on Thanksgiving -

NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. is becoming the latest retailer to open earlier on Thanksgiving this year.

The Minneapolis-based discounter said it will open at 8 p.m. on the holiday, which falls on Nov. 28. That's an hour earlier than last year. Target stores will remain open throughout the night and close at 11 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29.

97. Dow Jones average reaches another record high -

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average rose to another all-time high on Wall Street Monday.

The market edged higher from Friday, when it got a lift from an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report for October. The surge in hiring made investors more optimistic that the U.S. economy is getting stronger.

98. Best of the rest in social media and how to use them -

With more than 200 major, active social media networks cited by Wikipedia, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices available.

Given the considerable amount of time that businesses are investing in social media marketing, it’s vital to focus those efforts on the right networks versus every network.

99. Midstate sees surge in $1 million-plus home sales -

Last week was a monumental week in Middle Tennessee residential real estate as seven single-family homes and one condo closed for more than $1 million each. Williamson County boasted three $1 million-plus sales for the week and 16 for the month, while Davidson County held a slight edge with 18 closed sales in October.

100. BlackBerry abandons bid to sell itself, CEO out -

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry abandoned its bid to sell itself on Monday, and announced it will replace its chief executive.

Fairfax Financial, BlackBerry's largest shareholder with a 10 percent stake, said it won't buy the struggling smartphone company and take it private but said that Fairfax and other investors will inject $1 billion as part of a revised investment proposal.