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Business/Economy

  • US stock futures sink on debt, recession jitters--video extra

    U.S. stock futures are sinking as economic jitters and uncertainty about Europe's finances fuel another day of selling around the world.

    European banking shares fell near two-and-a-half-year lows, dragged down by rumors about the companies' potential losses on bonds issued by heavily-indebted governments. Earlier, Asian shares took a beating, with major indexes in China and Japan losing more than 2.5 percent.

    U.S. markets plunged Thursday in a return to the volatile trading that dizzied traders last week. Bad economic news has forecasters warning that another recession is possible.

  • Unemployment numbers remain staggering

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose back above 400,000 last week. Still, the four-week average, a more reliable gauge of the job market, fell to the lowest level since mid-April.

    The report suggests that the economy is creating jobs but not nearly enough to lower the high unemployment rate.

    Weekly applications rose 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 408,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest level in four weeks. Applications have been above 400,000 for 18 of the past 19 weeks.

    The four-week average dropped for the seventh straight week to 402,500.

  • Obama to lay out new jobs plan in Sept. speech

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to jolt the economy, President Barack Obama will propose new ideas to create jobs and help the struggling poor and middle class in a major speech after Labor Day. And then he will try to seize political advantage by spending the fall pressuring Congress to act on his plan.

  • Core wholesale inflation up most in 6 months

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies paid higher prices for tobacco, pickup trucks and pharmaceuticals in July, driving underlying wholesale inflation up by the most in six months.

    This measure of inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is known as the core Producer Price Index. It rose 0.4 percent in July, the biggest increase since January.

    The overall PPI, which measures price changes in goods before they reach the consumer, rose 0.2 percent last month, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That follows a 0.4 percent drop in June, the first decline in 17 months.

    Gas prices fell for the second straight month. Food costs rose 0.6 percent, the biggest rise since February.

  • Obama to give major jobs speech

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking a jolt for the economy, President Barack Obama will lay out new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class in a major speech in early September, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

    The president's plan is likely to contain tax cuts, jobs-boosting infrastructure ideas and steps that would specifically help the long-term unemployed. The official emphasized that all of Obama's proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his "infrastructure bank" idea to finance construction jobs.

  • 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.