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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Samsung warns smartphone growth is slowing, the S&P 500 extends its best winning streak in years, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Samsung reportedly only sold 15 million Galaxy S IIIs in comparison to the whopping 47.8 million iPhones Apple sold.
Samsung reportedly only sold 15 million Galaxy S IIIs in comparison to the whopping 47.8 million iPhones Apple sold. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Samsung

1. SAMSUNG WARNS OF SLOWING SMARTPHONE GROWTH
Samsung Electronics stock dipped by 2 percent early Friday after the company announced record quarterly profit but warned that the "furious growth spurt" in the global smartphone market was slowing down. Analysts estimate that Samsung, the largest seller of cell phones and smartphones, sold 63 million smartphones in the quarter, including 15 million Galaxy S IIIs. Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones. But both companies are bracing for stiffer price competition in 2013, and competition from a slew of new gadgets. [Telegraph, Reuters]
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2. S&P 500 EXTENDS WINNING STREAK
The Standard & Poor's 500 made modest gains early Friday as encouraging earnings reports continued to roll in, putting the big-stock index on the verge of posting an eighth straight day of gains. That would be its longest winning streak since 2004. The latest bit of good news came Friday from Procter & Gamble, the world's top household products maker, which reported profit that was much better than expected and raised its forecast on sales and earnings for the fiscal year, sending its stock up by 3.5 percent. The S&P has already gained for seven straight days — its best run in four years — and on Thursday it touched the 1,500 level for the first time since 2007. [Reuters]
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3. THE U.K. INCHES TOWARD A TRIPLE-DIP RECESSION
Britain's economy shrank more than expected in the final quarter of 2012, nudging the country close to an unprecedented triple-dip recession, the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics reported Friday. British gross domestic product fell by 0.3 percent in the quarter, after growing by 0.9 percent in the three months before. There were several contributing factors in the slowdown, including the evaporation of the boost from the London Olympics and a decline in oil and gas output. [Bloomberg]
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4. NEW HOME SALES FALL
New home sales fell by 7.8 percent in December. The decline was worse than experts expected, but 2012 as a whole was still the best year since 2009. In recent months, the real estate market has been showing signs of recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble more than five years ago. The improvement has been credited to several factors, including historically low mortgage rates and declining unemployment. Also, home prices have started to rebound, prompting people who were waiting for the market to hit bottom to go out and buy. [CNN]
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5. AT&T BUYS WIRELESS SPECTRUM TO MEET SMARTPHONE DEMAND
AT&T said Friday it had agreed to buy wireless airwaves from Verizon Wireless for $1.9 billion. As part of the deal, which is expected to close in the second half of 2013, AT&T will give up spectrum licenses in a few Western markets, but it will gain licenses covering 42 million people in 18 states. AT&T needs the extra capacity to deliver high-speed wireless services to its growing base of smartphone and tablet customers. It tried to solve the problem by buying T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, but that deal fell apart in late 2011 due to regulatory opposition. [CNET, Reuters]

 

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