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Business/Economy

  • GRT dispute threatens Indian Market

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A dispute over taxes may keep more than 200 artists from opening their booths in downtown Santa Fe for this weekend's Indian Market unless organizers can fix things with the state and the city of Santa Fe.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the problem apparently stems from a long-running issue over collection of gross-receipts taxes from vendors who flock to Santa Fe each August for the world's largest exhibition and sale of American Indian arts and crafts.

  • To be frank, it's a dog fight

    CHICAGO (AP) — The nation's largest hot dog makers argued about the meaning of "100 percent pure beef" and the merits of ketchup Monday in a lawsuit over advertising claims stemming from their years of dog-eat-dog competition.

    Attorneys for Sara Lee Corp., which makes Ball Park franks, and Kraft Foods Inc., which makes Oscar Mayer, superimposed giant hot dogs on a courtroom screen as they delivered opening remarks in a case that could clarify how far companies can go when boasting about their products.

  • Stocks rise after acquisition spree

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising after companies announced a series of acquisitions totaling more than $19 billion.

    The Dow Jones industrial average is up 104 points, or 0.9 percent, to 11,375 at midday in New York. The S&P 500 is up 13, or 1.1 percent, to 1,192. The Nasdaq is up 17, or 0.7 percent, to 2,525.

    The biggest deal of the day is Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings. Time Warner Cable, Cargill and Transocean also announced purchases of more than $1 billion.

  • Dow up 423 as Wall Street whipsaws again

    NEW YORK (AP) — Lurching higher in its week of whiplash, Wall Street recorded one of its biggest gains of all time Thursday after investors seized on a few signs that the economy might just be able to avoid a new recession.

    The Dow Jones industrial average soared 423 points. It had already fallen 634 points Monday, risen 429 Tuesday and fallen 519 Wednesday. Never before has the Dow had four 400-point swings in a row.

    The pieces of news that sent Wall Street rocketing higher were not exactly blockbusters: Cisco Systems said its profit was better than expected, the job market got a little better, and France tried to raise confidence in its shaken banking system.

  • Weekly unemployment aid applications decline to 395K

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week below 400,000 for the first time in four months.

    Applications for unemployment aid dropped by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 395,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Applications had been above 400,000 for the previous17 weeks.

    The four-week average, a less-volatile figure, fell to 405,000, its sixth straight decline. That suggests applications are decreasing over time.

    Applications fell in February to 375,000, a level that reflects healthy job growth. They soared to an eight-month high of 478,000 in late April, and have declined slowly since then.

  • Stocks resume sell-off; Dow finishes down 519--video extra

    NEW YORK (AP) — Back to reality and back down, Wall Street focused on the bleak landscape ahead for the economy Wednesday and wiped out its big gains from a day earlier — and then some.

    The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 519 points and has now lost more than 2,000 in less than three weeks. Swings of several hundred points in just minutes, accelerated by computerized trading, have become commonplace.

    This time, the selling was intensified by worries about in Europe. American bank stocks took hits because investors fretted that debt problems overseas might reach the United States.

  • Economic conditions whipsaw investors worldwide

    LONDON (AP) — Concerns over the financial health of Europe's banks and the state of the U.S. economy sent stocks sharply lower Tuesday, a day after the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep extremely low interest rates for two more years temporarily calmed market jitters.

    Shares in French banks took a particular pummeling in mid-afternoon trading on the Paris stock exchange on renewed market worries over France's bond rating and the European debt crisis. French bank Societe Generale's shares plunged more than 20 percent at one point, while stock in BNP Paribas was off nearly 10 percent and Credit Agricole fell more than 14 percent.

  • US stock futures fall after best day since 2009

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures fell Wednesday as markets remain shaky in what has been a volatile week.

    The Dow Jones industrial average surged on Tuesday to its biggest gain since 2009 after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep its key interest rate at nearly zero into 2013. The central bank also said it considered other "policy tools" to spur economic growth. Some investors took that to mean that more stimulus may be coming.

    But the Fed's statement included a dim outlook on the economy's strength. It said growth this year has been "considerably slower" than it expected and that it anticipates a slower pace of recovery over coming quarters.

  • Debt panel members face conflicting pressures

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Before even getting down to work, members of Congress' new debt-reduction supercommittee face pressures to rally behind partisan principles and to find even more savings than planned.

    House and Senate Republican leaders named their six appointees to the 12-member panel on Wednesday, a mix of partisans and pragmatists, veterans and freshmen. Senate Democrats named their three participants on Tuesday, leaving House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to make her selections by next week.

    Members of both parties said the job of whittling down the government's enormous debt was urgent, yet critics expressed little hope that the bipartisan panel would be able to overcome stark political divides.

  • Fed to keep interest rate near zero for 2 years

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve sketched a dim outlook for the economy Tuesday, suggesting it will remain weak for two more years. As a result, the Fed said it expects to keep its key interest rate near zero through mid-2013.

    It's the first time the Fed has pegged its "exceptionally low" rates to a specific date. The Fed had previously said only that it would keep its key rate at record lows for "an extended period."

    The Fed announced no new efforts to energize the economy in its statement released after its one-day policy meeting. But the statement held out the promise of lower rates on mortgages and other consumer loans longer than many had assumed.