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State investment head nervously eyes 'cliff' talks

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Count Howard Bicker among those taking careful stock of the sputtering fiscal cliff talks in Washington.

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The executive director of Minnesota's State Board of Investment is keeping tabs on the stock market volatility related to the policy debate in Washington over taxes and spending. President Barack Obama and Congress have until Monday to head off automatic tax increases and spending cuts.

The prospects for a deadline deal have dimmed. The lack of a deal is expected to send stock prices down while a pact could spark a rally. Either way, uncertainty vexes investors.

Bicker's agency manages $62 billion in Minnesota government investments such as pension funds. He says there's not much the board can do on short notice to buffer the accounts for market swings.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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