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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Construction spending rises for third consecutive month

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Builders began work on more homes, and the government boosted its investment in federal construction projects in November, marking a third straight monthly increase in construction activity after a dismal summer.

Construction spending increased 0.4 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Monday. Still, building activity is only 2.3 percent higher than in August, when it had fallen to the lowest level in a decade.

Total spending increased to $810.2 billion in November at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. The strength in November came from a 0.7 percent rise in private residential construction, which increased to $235.7 billion at an annual rate. That marked the third straight gain.

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Bankruptcy filings increase

Bankruptcy filings by U.S. consumers rose 9 percent last year to 1.53 million more than in 2009, fewer than the 1.6 million the American Bankruptcy Institute forecast.

The growth slowed in the last quarter, with fewer filings in October and November than a year earlier, reflecting economic improvement.

Individuals filed the most cases since 2005, when Congress overhauled the bankruptcy code. Filings may continue to increase next year, Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano of the American Bankruptcy Institute said.

-- Bloomberg News

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Investor buys BioLabs stock Cleveland BioLabs has raised

$7.7 million in new capital by selling additional shares to an unidentified institutional investor, the Buffalo-based life sciences company said.

The stock sale will provide Cleveland BioLabs additional money that it plans to use to continue developing potential new drugs, including one that could be used to treat radiation sickness. Other drugs that are in less-advanced stages of development could be used to help treat cancer patients.

The deal, which closed last week, involved the sale of $1.4 million shares of its common stock at $5.99 per share, which was a 15 percent discount from the weighted average trading price of Cleveland BioLabs stock during the 10 trading days leading up to Dec. 22.

Selling large blocks of stock in negotiated transactions at a discounted price is not unusual.

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Motorola to complete split

NEW YORK (AP) -- Motorola Inc.'s formal split into two companies today will mark the final step in the years-long breakup of a consumer electronics industry pioneer.

Motorola began selling car radios in the 1930s and expanded into television sets in the '40s and cell phones in the '80s. The company has become increasingly diverse, and the breakup that began in 2008 is motivated by the desire to present two simple businesses to investors rather than one complicated one.

Motorola is splitting its consumer-oriented side, which makes cell phone and cable set-top boxes, from the professional business of selling police radios and bar code scanners to government agencies and large companies. The new companies will be called Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions.

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Citigroup sells student loans

NEW YORK (AP) -- Citigroup Inc. has completed the sale of its Student Loan Corp. assets to Discover Financial Services and SLM Corp, also known as Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae bought $27 billion in securitized federal loans and related assets. Discover acquired the company's private student loan business and private student loans and other assets totaling $4.2 billion. It also bought Student Loan's $3.4 billion of asset-backed securitization funding and other liabilities.

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Allpro offers reservations

Allpro Parking is letting customers make reservations to park in many of its lots in downtown Buffalo and Jamestown.

The reservation service allows customers to pick a parking lot within a

10 minute walk of a destination, such as HSBC Arena or a downtown hotel. The service is available at six of Allpro's Buffalo lots for daily parking, as well as for special events, said Jenna Luehrsen, company spokeswoman.

Allpro, which is partnering with CityParking USA.com to offer the reservations, charges a fee that ranges from $2 to $5 for the service, in addition to the regular parking charges. The service is available at Allproparking.com or cityparkingUSA.com.

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