Stocks finish higher on optimism over budget

NEW YORK — Optimism that President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders will reach a deal on the budget deficit and avoid the “fiscal cliff” helped stocks notch their first advance in four days.

The market started lower Friday but spiked higher shortly before midday as the top members of the House and Senate spoke at the White House following a closed-door session with Obama. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both said they offered higher tax revenue as part of a deal. Boehner said he outlined a framework that is consistent with Obama’s call for a “balanced” approach of both higher revenue and spending cuts.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 45.93, or 0.4 percent, at 12,588.31. The S&P 500 index rose 6.55, or 0.5 percent, to 1,359.88. The Nasdaq rose 16.19, or 0.6 percent to 2,853.13.

Nucor names successor for longtime top exec

Huger steel mill owner Nucor Corp. today said that its president and chief operating officer, John Ferriola, will succeed Dan DiMicco as CEO on Jan. 1.

DiMicco will remain with the Charlotte-based company as executive chairman.

The incoming CEO is an electrical engineer by training. Ferriola began his career in the industry with Bethlehem Steel in 1974. He joined Nucor in 1992 as manager of maintenance and engineering at a mill in Jewett, Texas. He was named president and COO in early 2011.

DiMicco, 62, served as Nucor’s CEO longer than anyone since founder Ken Iverson.

Sandy, budget worries hold back U.S. factories

WASHINGTON — U.S. factory production of machinery and equipment fell sharply last month, held back by temporary disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy and companies’ fears that a federal budget crisis could trigger a recession next year.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory output, the most important component of industrial production, fell 0.9 percent in October from September. It would have been unchanged without the storm, the Fed said.

Overall industrial production fell 0.4 percent last month.

JPMorgan, Swiss bank paying $417M in case

WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse have agreed to pay a combined $417 million to settle federal civil charges that they sold risky mortgage bonds to investors that the banks knew could fail ahead of the 2008 financial crisis.

JP Morgan did not warn investors that homeowners were behind on their payments for the mortgages tied to the bonds, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday.

Nike to sell Cole Haan brand for $570 million

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nike is selling its Cole Haan brand to private equity firm Apax Partners for $570 million, part of its effort to focus on core brands.

The sneakers, clothing and sports gear maker said in May that it wanted to sell the leather shoe and bag division and its Umbro soccer jersey brand to cut costs.

Easley bank takes over failed lender in Georgia

WASHINGTON — Regulators closed a bank in Georgia on Friday, bringing to 50 the number of U.S. bank failures this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday seized Hometown Community Bank, based in Braselton, Ga.

The bank had roughly $124.6 million in assets and $108.9 million. CertusBank NA of Easley agreed to assume all the deposits and the assets.

Wire reports