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Monday business briefs

Year's first-day trading effect

portends good 2010 for stocks

If the stock market holds to a pattern it has followed for most of the past 40 years, 2010 could be a big year for investors. Since 1973, a big advance on the first trading day of January has been a strong sign stocks will post robust gains for the rest of the year. Monday, upbeat news about manufacturing lifted all three major indexes. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 155.91 points, or 1.5 percent, to 10,583.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17.89, or 1.6 percent, to 1,132.99, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 39.27, or 1.7 percent, to 2,308.42.

Income tax preparers may soon

have to pass test, be registered

The Internal Revenue Service plans to require tax preparers to pass a test and register with the government to better police a largely unregulated industry used by most taxpayers. The agency said there could be more than 1 million people offering tax preparation services. The new regulations, announced Monday, won't be in effect for the current filing season. Preparers will be given about three years to meet competency requirements. Eventually, they will be required to complete annual training and will be subject to penalties for unethical conduct, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said.

Google set to announce plans

for its Nexus One mobile phoneGoogle is expected to kick off the new year by unveiling its vision for how a mobile phone should be made and sold. The company's catalyst for change apparently will be Nexus One, the first phone designed by Google's engineers. Some details about Google's plans for the phone could emerge Tuesday during a news conference at the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

Judge: Bank of America won't

be able to use media reportsA judge in federal court in Manhattan says expert witnesses for Bank of America Corp. cannot use media reports to boost claims that shareholders knew big bonus payments were looming when it bought Merrill Lynch & Co. The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought a civil case over billions in bonuses paid at Merrill Lynch. The main charge states the bank falsely implied Merrill was banned from paying year-end bonuses without the bank's approval. A trial is scheduled for March.

2009 goes down as seventh

worst for bankruptcy filingsU.S. consumers and businesses are filing for bankruptcy at a pace that made 2009 the seventh-worst year on record, with more than 1.4 million petitions submitted, an Associated Press tally showed Monday. The AP gathered data from the nation's 90 bankruptcy districts and found 1.43 million filings, an increase of 32 percent from 2008. There were 116,000 recorded bankruptcies in December, up 22 percent from the same month a year before.

From wire reports

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