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Consumer Confidential: AT&T merger, incomes up, car deals

November 23, 2011 | 10:04 am

Here's your what's-new-pussycat Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- AT&T's proposed $39-billion merger with T-Mobile is hitting new roadblocks. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is seeking a review of the deal, arguing that it would significantly diminish competition and lead to massive job losses. The agency also concluded that the merger would not result in significantly more buildout of next-generation 4G wireless service than would occur without the transaction. AT&T argues the deal will accelerate its expansion of high-speed wireless service to nearly all Americans. The U.S. Justice Department went to court in August to oppose AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile on antitrust grounds. (Reuters)

-- In a sign that holiday shopping may be stronger than expected, consumers barely increased their spending in October but their incomes rose by the most in seven months. The Commerce Department says spending increased 0.1% last month, the poorest gain in four months. But incomes increased 0.4%, the best showing since March. Private wages and salaries drove the income gain. The slight October gain in consumer spending represented a big slowdown from a 0.7% September increase. Spending on durable goods such as autos showed a solid increase, but spending on nondurable goods such as food and clothing fell. (Associated Press)

-- In the market for a new car? Black Friday's the ticket. Based on sales data for the last 10 years, plus current market conditions, the website TrueCar estimates that discounts of more than 20% will be available Friday on some models. The discounts result partly because Black Friday is near the end of the month, when dealers push to meet their monthly sales quotas. And manufacturers already are offering their year-end rebates and other incentives to clear out the 2011 model year. Most of the best deals are on remaining 2011 models, like the 22% discount projected by TrueCar for the Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup, selling for an average $17,370 including a $4,500 rebate from General Motors. (MoneyWatch)

-- David Lazarus

Photo: The FCC wants a closer look at AT&T's merger with T-Mobile. Credit: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg