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Sandy car toll 230,000; other business briefs


Sandy car toll put at 230,000

An insurance industry group says at least 230,000 cars in 15 states and the District of Columbia were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, some beyond repair. The estimate from the National Insurance Crime Bureau of Des Plaines, Ill., based on claims made to insurance carriers, approaches the 250,000-car estimate from the National Automobile Dealers Association and is expected to grow. "Not surprisingly, New York had the most vehicles affected by the storm, with 130,000, while New Jersey generated 60,000 claims," said the bureau, a not-for-profit organization that fights insurance fraud and vehicle theft. The bureau had no breakdown by extent of damage to the vehicles. "They could have sustained minor paint scratches from flying debris, or have been under water for days and rendered total losses," it said. -- Tom Incantalupo

Archstone sold for $6.5 billion

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s bankruptcy estate is selling apartment-building owner Archstone Enterprise Lp in a $6.5-billion cash and stock deal. Lehman said Monday it is selling Archstone to Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities Inc. Archstone is Lehman Brothers' single largest asset. It will receive nearly $2.69 billion in cash for Monday's deal plus 34.5 million shares of Equity Residential's stock and 14.9 million shares of AvalonBay's stock that are worth about $3.8 billion combined. Lehman, which collapsed in 2008 in the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history, described the deal as very positive for its creditors.


400,000 Wii U's sold in a week

Nintendo sold more than 400,000 of its new video game console, the Wii U, in its first week on sale in the United States, the company said Monday. The Wii U launched on Nov. 18 at a starting price of $300. The Wii U is the first major game console to launch in six years. It comes with a new touch-screen controller that promises to change how people play games by offering different people in the same room a different experience, depending on the controller used. Six years ago Nintendo Co. sold 475,000 of the original Wii in that console's first seven days in stores, according to data from the Port Washington-based NPD Group. The original Wii remains available, and Nintendo said it sold more than 300,000 of them last week, along with roughly 250,000 handheld Nintendo 3DS units and about 275,000 of the Nintendo DS.

Facebook stock up on upgrade

Facebook's stock climbed Monday after an upgrade from an analyst who believes Wall Street is underestimating the company's potential to grow revenue. Bernstein Research analyst Carlos Kirjner said Monday that Facebook Inc. is likely to beat Wall Street's revenue expectations over the next 12 to 24 months. He expects Facebook to hit $6.98 billion in revenue in 2013, some 9 percent higher than the average analyst's expectation. In 2011 the social network reported revenue of $3.71 billion. Kirjner said mobile advertising will drive revenue growth. Facebook's stock closed at $25.94, up $1.94, or 8.09 percent. It's still down more than 30 percent from its initial public offering price of $38.

Buffett: Tax ultrarich more

Billionaire Warren Buffett is again calling for higher taxes on the "ultrarich," and he's urging Congress to compromise on spending cuts and tax increases. Buffett expressed his views on fiscal policy in an opinion article in The New York Times Monday. In the article, Buffett mocked the idea that investors would pull back if capital gains taxes increase. Buffett says he's never seen that happen. He reiterated his call for a minimum tax of 30 percent on income between $1 million and $10 million, and a 35 percent rate for income above that.-- AP

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