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Business/Economy

  • Commodities lifts materials and industrial stocks

    NEW YORK (AP) — Surging prices for metals, oil and other commodities lifted stock prices on Wednesday, especially industrial and materials companies.

    Strong corporate earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Intel Corp. and railroad operator CSX Corp. also gave investors more reasons to be assured about the economy.

  • Officials in 49 states launch foreclosure probe

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials in 49 states have launched a joint investigation into allegations that mortgage companies mishandled documents and broke laws in foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.

    The officials, including attorneys general and bank regulators, will examine whether mortgage company employees made false statements or prepared documents improperly.

  • Long-term implications of foreclosure freeze are 'grave'

    NEW YORK (AP) — Karl Case, the co-creator of a widely watched housing market index, was upbeat three weeks ago. Mulling the economy while at a meeting at a resort near the Berkshires, Case thought the makings of a recovery were finally falling into place.

    "I'm a 60-40 optimist," he said at the time.

  • Obama presses another spending measure as private sector jobs wane

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pushing a $50 billion plan to upgrade the nation's transportation networks and create jobs, bringing governors and mayors to the White House to help him make the case.

    Obama said Monday that clogged roads and crumbling infrastructure are costing American lives, eroding productivity and hindering economic growth. He spoke from the Rose Garden after meeting with state and local officials and Cabinet officials, who stood behind him for his comments.

  • No Social Security COLA expected for 2011

    WASHINGTON (AP) — As if voters don't have enough to be angry about this election year, the government is expected to announce this week that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through another year without an increase in their monthly benefits.

    It would mark only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975. The first year was this year.

  • Talk about contrarian: Dow closes above 11,000 for first time since May

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 11,000 for the first time in five months Friday as hopes built that the Federal Reserve will take more action to get the economy going again.

    A weaker jobs report added to a series of tepid economic indicators in recent weeks that have built expectations that the Fed will announce new steps to encourage borrowing when it meets in early November.

  • Analysis: Jobs report is bleak news for Democrats

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The economic die is cast, and it's grim news for Democrats. There's nothing now that Congress or President Barack Obama can do to before the November elections to jolt the nation's listless recovery.

    Friday's unemployment report — the last major economic news before the midterms — showed the nation continued to lose jobs last month, reinforcing the bleak reality that it probably will be not months but years before the jobless rate returns to pre-recession levels below 6 percent.

  • Economy loses 95K jobs due to government layoffs in September

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation's payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs.

    The unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s.

  • Economy likely creating some jobs, but not enough

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies likely added a small number of jobs last month, but hardly enough to bring much relief to the nation's 15 million unemployed.

    On Friday, the Labor Department will issue the final monthly jobs report before the midterm congressional elections. The report is likely to leave President Barack Obama in a precarious position: Democratic members of Congress will face voters with unemployment likely above 9.5 percent.

  • September retail sales edge up

    NEW YORK (AP) — Americans kept spending carefully last month, buying electronics and back-to-school clothes but holding back on luxuries.

    Erratic weather and tepid economic news dampened sales, according to data released Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which includes transactions in all forms including cash.

    But pockets of growth during the five weeks between Aug. 29 and Oct. 2 point to a modestly more robust holiday season this year than last.