Domestic crude oil pro­duc­tion achieved its big­gest one-year gain since 1951, driven by out­put in Texas and North Dakota.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - JOHN GREEN / CON­TRA COSTA TIMES

to forge a bud­get deal to avert those mea­sures. Econ­o­mists said if the fis­cal cliff mea­sures re­mained in place for much of 2013, they would cause a re­ces­sion.

5. Face­book’s IPO: Years of an­tic­i­pa­tion led to Face­book’s ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing of stock — the hottest In­ter­net IPO since Google’s in 2004. On the eve of its first trad­ing day, Face­book’s mar­ket value was $104 bil­lion — more than Ama­zon.com’s or McDon­ald’s at the time. Yet the IPO bombed. Within three months, Face­book’s stock shed more than half its IPO value.

6. Hous­ing re­cov­ery: Af­ter a six-year slump that sent more than 4 mil­lion homes into fore­clo­sure and shrank home prices about one-third na­tion­wide, the U.S. hous­ing mar­ket be­gan to re­cover in mid-year. Mod­est job gains and record-low mort­gage rates fu­eled de­mand. Hous­ing boosted eco­nomic growth this year for the first time since 2005.

7. Big oil: Domestic crude oil pro­duc­tion achieved its big­gest one-year gain since 1951, driven by out­put in Texas and North Dakota. The United States is on pace to pass Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil pro­ducer within two years. Credit goes to drilling im­prove­ments, like those that have fed a boom in domestic nat­u­ral-gas pro­duc­tion — hor­i­zon­tal drilling com­bined with hy­draulic frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing.

8. Bank­ing woes: It was a ban­ner year for bank drama. JPMor­gan Chase lost $6 bil­lion in a com­plex se­ries of trades. Mor­gan Stan­ley was ac­cused of botch­ing Face­book’s IPO. Bar­clays and UBS were fined for their roles in ma­nip­u­lat­ing a key global in­ter­est rate.

9. Mother na­ture: The na­tion suf­fered its worst drought since the 1950s. Grain and food prices soared. Then a storm so de­struc­tive it was dubbed a “su­per­storm” hit the North­east. Sandy will likely end up as the sec­ond-costli­est U.S. storm ever af­ter Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina.

10. Mo­bile-gad­get wars: Com­pe­ti­tion in mo­bile tech­nol­ogy in­ten­si­fied. Ap­ple main­tained its world­wide dom­i­nance. But the use of Google’s An­droid soft­ware on com­pet­ing smart­phones and tablets spread faster than Ap­ple’s mar­ket share.

Phillip Zakhour makes his liv­ing by us­ing sev­eral ‘shar­ing’ ser­vices.

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