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Directors leave in HP shake-up

Hewlett-Packard Co. is overhauling its board of directors as the world's biggest technology company by revenue takes heat for the ouster of former chief executive Mark Hurd six months ago. The shake-up announced Thursday is the first sweeping change under HP's new leadership, which was put in place after Hurd's abrupt resignation last summer tanked HP's shares and triggered lawsuits over the size of his severance payout. The departure of four directors also marks the first major alteration to the board that has been at the center of several scandals in recent years. A spokesman for Hurd declined to comment.

Futures index shows growth

A private research group says its gauge of future economic activity rose in December, suggesting the economy will strengthen over the next few months. The Conference Board says its index of leading economic indicators rose 1 percent last month after a 1.1 percent increase in November. Those are the biggest increases since March, when the index jumped 1.4 percent. The measure had stalled this summer as Europe's debt crisis and a weak jobs market hit U.S. stocks.

SEC adopts new disclosure rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved rules Thursday that will require issuers of asset-backed securities to disclose repurchase requests and completions related to the pooled assets. The rules are part of the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation overhaul. Commissioners also approved a second set of rules requiring issuers to review assets underlying the securities.

Dec. existing home sales up

Sales of previously owned homes jumped 12 percent in December from the previous month, but purchases for the year were the lowest since 1997, according to an industry report released Thursday. Last year's sales dropped 4.8 percent to an annual pace of 4.9 million homes, the National Association of Realtors said. The median existing home price was $168,800 in December, down 1 percent from a year ago.

IRS: Itemizers can file Feb. 14

The Internal Revenue Service said Thursday that it will delay processing returns from some taxpayers because of late changes to the 2010 tax law. It will start processing returns Feb. 14 from people who itemize their deductions, claim a deduction for college tuition and fees, and school teachers who claim a deduction for out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Other taxpayers can file their returns as soon as they receive all their tax documents.

From wire reports

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