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Stocks edge up as investors keep eye on Washington

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Apple and other tech companies led the market up for the second day Thursday. The gains came a day after Apple took its worst fall in four years. Investors’ ­biggest concern remains the automatic tax increases and federal spending cuts scheduled to start Jan. 1. Most investors believe President Obama and congressional Republicans will strike a budget deal before the year is out. But until they reach an agreement, the stock market will likely be hostage to news out of Washington. The government will ­release its monthly jobs report Friday. Private economists expect the unemployment rate to ­remain unchanged at 7.9 percent.

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