Nov. 12 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks hold the line in holiday trade; Leucadia buys rest of Jefferies and Precision Castparts goes after Titanium Metals; Microsoft says Surface sales ''modest''; Homebuilder sales rise but shares fall. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Trading was very light on Wall Street due to the Veteran's Day holiday Wall Street ended close to were it started after flip-flopping most of the session. The few traders who did come to work traded on deals. Wall Street firm Jefferies is being bought outright by Leucadia National Corp for $3.6 billion. Shares of Jefferies jumped 14 percent, but Leucadia are down on concerns Jefferies growth strategy is too aggressive. In another deal, aircraft component maker Precision Castparts wants to buy Titanium Metals for $2.9 billion. Both stocks took flight on word of the deal. Microsoft says sales of the Surface tablet are "modest" since the device is not widely available. But CEO Steve Ballmer says there were 4 million upgrades to Windows 8 in the first three days on sale. He made the comments to France's Le Parisien. Staying with corporate headlines: the recovery continues for the real estate market. D.R. Horton beat profit forecasts thanks to a 21 percent jump in net sales. And Beazer Homes topped sales forecast, though its profit loss was wider-than-expected. Both stocks declined as investors were hoping for even better results. An interesting development in the oil pits...the International Energy Agency says the U.S. will become the world's top oil producer by 2017 and energy self-sufficient by 2035. Oil prices lost half a dollar to less than $86 a barrel. In Europe, the Greeks get more time but no definite word on if they'll get more money. Shares moved slightly in either direction.