Business news briefs
inks insurance deal
Security National Financial said it has, through its life insurance subsidiary, closed on a co-insurance transaction with Mothe Life Insurance and DLE Life Insurance Co. The Utah company said it is now co-insuring 103,000 policies underwritten by the two Louisiana-based insurers.
U.K. firm invests
in NOOK e-reader
Pearson, the U.K. publisher and education company, will take a 5 percent stake in Barnes & Noble's NOOK e-reader as technology companies seek to provide digital textbooks. Pearson will pay $89.5 million for the stake, which includes the bookseller's e-reader and tablets, its digital bookstore and its 674 stores serving U.S. colleges.
Americans signed contracts to buy homes last month at the highest level in two and a half years. The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index rose 1.7 percent in November from October, to 106.4. That's the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer tax credit caused a spike in sales.
Barrel of oil
dips in price
The price of oil fell slightly Friday, as the stock market drifted lower and efforts continued in Washington to strike a budget deal before the year-end deadline. The price of benchmark crude fell 7 cents to finish at $90.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Hewlett-Packard said the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations of fraud at Autonomy, the British software maker it acquired for $11 billion last year. In November, HP said it uncovered accounting issues at Autonomy, a discovery that played a role in HP's decision to write down $8 billion in the value of Autonomy.
A Chinese court ordered Apple Inc. to pay $165,000 to eight Chinese writers and two companies who say unlicensed copies of their work were distributed through Apple's online store. The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court ruled Apple violated the writers' copyrights.
stall air merger
An American Airlines merger with US Airways may not occur during the AMR Corp. unit's bankruptcy unless pilot groups from the carriers agree on an interim contract, American's pilot union warned. If a pact isn't reached soon, "in all likelihood there will be no merger before American Airlines exits restructuring," Allied Pilots Association President Keith Wilson said.