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News Wrap: Big 3 Automakers Turn in Upbeat Sales for 2011

January 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

KWAME HOLMAN:  The big three U.S. automakers turned in upbeat sales reports today for 2011.  All three saw their business rise substantially.

Chrysler led the pack with a 26 percent gain over the year before, as it continued its comeback from bankruptcy.  General Motors sold 13 percent more cars, just two years after its own bout with bankruptcy.  And Ford gained 11 percent.  The company sold two million vehicles for the first time since 2007.  Japanese automaker Nissan also reported surging sales.  But Honda’s business was down nearly 20 percent.  And Toyota sales were flat.

The auto sales news did little to boost Wall Street.  Trading mostly was quiet, after yesterday’s big open to the trading year.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained 21 points to close at 12,418.  The Nasdaq fell less than a point to close at 2,648.

In Syria, opposition leaders said today the government is misleading Arab League peace monitors.  Activists said the regime is hiding armored vehicles and tanks in dugouts, and painting other vehicles in police colors to make it appear the army has pulled out of cities.  The 100 peace monitors are on a monthlong mission to try to ensure Syria keeps an agreement to end its crackdown on protesters.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.