IN BRIEF

NV Energy boosts rebates for consumers using wind power

Local power utility NV Energy has boosted rebates it will offer to consumers who install wind-powered electric generators at homes and businesses.

Through NV Energy’s WindGenerations program, residential power users who deploy wind electricity can now earn rebates on up to 60 kilowatts of capacity, up from 30 kilowatts before. Schools and public buildings can now claim rebates on up to 250 kilowatts and 500 kilowatts respectively, up from 50 kilowatts. Small businesses can get incentives on 250 kilowatts of wind power, while agricultural operations can qualify for money back on as much as 500 kilowatts of installed wind generation.

The incentive rate for residential, small-business and agricultural customers is $2.50 on the first 10 kilowatts and $1.50 on the rest. For schools and public buildings, incentives are $3 on the first 10 kilowatts and $2 per kilowatt thereafter.

NV Energy launched WindGenerations, which is part of the company’s RenewableGenerations green-power program, in August 2008. Since then, customers have installed 25 projects generating 72.2 kilowatts. Applications are pending on another 67 installations. NV Energy has paid $235,800 in incentives to participants.

WASHINGTON

Factory production rise helps boost Fed’s economic outlook

The economic recovery picked up in late fall as shoppers spent a bit more and factories bumped up production. That assessment Wednesday by the Federal Reserve marked its most upbeat view since the economy fell into recession two years ago.

The Fed’s new snapshot of business barometers nationwide found that conditions have generally improved since the last report in late October.

Eight of the Fed’s 12 regions surveyed reported some pickup in activity or improved conditions, the Fed said. Those regions were: Boston, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco.

The four other regions — Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond and Atlanta — described conditions as little changed or mixed.

The new report adds to evidence that the economy is rebounding after the worst recession since the 1930s.

NEW YORK

Bank of America will repay $45 billion in bailout money

Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday it plans to repay its $45 billion in government bailout funds in the next few days, a move that will help the troubled bank recruit a new CEO.

The bank said in a statement it would use available cash and raise $18.8 billion in capital to repay the money, which it received during the height of the credit crisis last year and after its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. earlier this year.

Bank of America has been searching for a successor to CEO Ken Lewis since the bank announced in late September that he planned to retire on Dec. 31. But the bank, burdened with government restrictions and close oversight after accepting the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, has so far been unable to sign a new chief executive.

The bank has said it was considering candidates from inside and outside the company. Spokesman Bob Stickler said a decision is expected “in the near future.”

PHILADELPHIA

Deal giving Comcast control of NBC Universal expected today

The deal to give Comcast Corp. control of NBC Universal is expected to be announced this morning.

Two people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press of the plans on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been made public.

Comcast’s purchase of a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal would transform the nation’s largest cable TV provider into one of the biggest owners of TV and movie programming.

Comcast is expected to pay GE $5 billion to $7 billion in cash and contribute $6 billion to $7 billion worth of cable channels. GE would transfer $8 billion to $10 billion in debt to the venture and own 49 percent at the outset.

Geithner sees ‘good chance’ for financial overhaul passage

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he sees a “good chance” that Congress will pass a financial regulatory overhaul bill and urged lawmakers to act quickly.

Geithner said government efforts to shore up the banking system have “brought stability back” at a lower cost to taxpayers than expected in February. The Obama administration expects to return “very substantial” amounts of money from the financial-rescue effort, he said.

Winding down the rescue programs must not jeopardize the progress that’s been made as challenges remain for the economy, he said. Housing markets are still “very damaged,” community banks are under pressure and many small businesses have trouble getting credit, Geithner said.

NEW YORK

Wal-Mart game deals send GameStop shares plunging

GameStop Corp.’s shares plunged Wednesday after an announcement from Wal-Mart that the big retailer is offering deals on popular video games and the Nintendo Wii leading up to the holidays.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is lowering the prices of 25 of the most popular video games — such as “Halo 3:ODST” and “Left 4 Dead 2” — until Christmas Eve by 15 percent to 20 percent.

It’s also running a promotion from Saturday through Dec. 12 giving shoppers who buy the $199 Wii game console a $50 gift card.

Investors sent GameStop shares sharply lower Wednesday amid worries that the Wal-Mart deals could undercut holiday sales at GameStop’s more than 6,000 video game retail stores nationwide. GameStop shares fell $1.97, or 8.26 percent, Wednesday to close at $21.87 on the New York Stock Exchange.

“This news is clearly a negative for (GameStop) which generates the bulk of its sales during the holiday season and may be forced to reduce prices to stay competitive,” said Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible in a note to investors.

SAN FRANCISCO

Material to be shared as Yahoo, Facebook expand partnership

Yahoo Inc. will lean more heavily on Facebook’s popularity as it tries to give people more reasons to stay on its Web site.

The expanded partnership announced Wednesday will enable Yahoo users with Facebook accounts to blend material from the two Web sites without having to leave one destination for the other.

For example, Yahoo users will be able to read the latest updates from their Facebook friends while they’re still perusing Yahoo’s site. On the flip side, personal material from Yahoo’s site — such as e-mail, movie reviews and photos — can be more easily shared on Facebook.

These tools are scheduled to be activated early next year.

Yahoo’s home page already includes an application that provides a glimpse at Facebook updates. The upcoming changes will make it possible to plant Facebook content all over Yahoo.

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