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NEW YORK — October usually reminds investors of how badly things can go: Two of the worst crashes in stock market history happened that month. Not this year. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is poised for its biggest monthly gain since 2011 and closed at an all-time high seven times. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 640 words, photo. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m., photos.
WASHINGTON — Government safety rules are changing to let airline passengers use most electronic devices from gate-to-gate. The change will let passengers read, work, play games, watch movies and listen to music — but not make cellphone calls. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 850 words, photos, video.
— CELLPHONES-PLANES-HICCUPS — Some quirks travelers might experience as airlines adapt to the new FAA rules on electronics. UPCOMING: 450 words by 2 p.m.
AIR TRAFFIC FUTURE
WASHINGTON — After a decade of work and billions of dollars spent, the modernization of the U.S. air traffic control system is in trouble. The ambitious and complex technology program dubbed NextGen has encountered unforeseen difficulties at almost every turn. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 1,480 words, photos, video.
WASHINGTON — More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will see their benefits go down starting Friday, just as Congress begins negotiations on further cuts to the program. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 570 words.
A noxious feline odor has recent buyers of Dell laptops caterwauling. Buyers of some Dell Latitude 6430u laptops say their pricey new computers are emitting a smell similar to cat urine. The computer maker says the smell isn't what people think but is replacing parts with the odor, which the company blames on a manufacturing process. By Bree Fowler. SENT: 360 words.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Just a few years ago, flamboyant billionaire Eike Batista was boasting that he'd soon be the world's richest man. But Batista's OGX oil company filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday in a stunning reverse for the champion speedboat racer who came to symbolize the country's economic boom with Brazilian flair. By Bradley Brooks. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.
COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. — When he was on trial for racketeering, Angelo Lutz denied the mob's existence, but now he's using his past in organized crime to promote his new restaurant, the Kitchen Consigliere. By Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 550 words, photos, video.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, a sign that employers are laying off very few workers. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 470 words, photos.
— UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS-GLANCE
— MORTGAGE RATES — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell for the second straight week and are at their lowest levels in four months. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan declined to 4.10 percent from 4.13 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan eased to 3.20 percent from 3.24 percent. SENT: 410 words, photos.
— CENTRAL BANKS — Six of the world's leading central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, say they will provide each other with ready supplies of their currencies on a standing basis, extending arrangements set up to steady the global financial system during post-2007 turbulence. SENT: 350 words.
— OIL PRICES — Oil remains below $97 a barrel, with gains limited by concerns over plentiful supplies and the prospect of less U.S. monetary stimulus. SENT: 250 words. UPCOMING: 450 words by 3:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is announcing a new proposal designed to head off more shortages of crucial medications that have disrupted care at hospitals and health clinics nationwide. Under the proposed rule, companies that make widely-used prescription medicines would have to notify the FDA of any changes in drug production that could disrupt the U.S. supply. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 500 words by 2:30 p.m.
NEW YORK — Kraft says it plans to remove artificial dyes from three macaroni and cheese varieties that come in kid-friendly shapes, a move that comes as people increasingly reach for foods they feel are natural. The change doesn't affect Kraft's plain elbow-shaped macaroni and cheese with "original flavor." By Candice Choi. SENT: 450 words.
— YELLOWSTONE OIL SPILL-DAMAGES — Montana and federal officials say they'll seek compensation from Exxon Mobil Corp. for natural resource damages caused by a crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River. SENT: 130 words.
— BOEING-737 — Boeing Co. is speeding up production of its 737 again as it aims to cut down a backlog for 3,400 of the jets. SENT: 130 words.
— HOT SAUCE LAWSUIT — A judge has denied a Southern California factory town's attempt to shut down production of the popular Sriracha chili sauce. SENT: 300 words, photos.
— JOS A BANK-MEN'S WEARHOUSE — Jos. A. Bank says it will consider boosting its $2.3 billion buyout bid for Men's Wearhouse, but that it will drop its offer in two weeks if there continues to be no discussions on the proposal. SENT: 140 words.
— ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS-MARKETING SUSPENDED — Ariad Pharmaceuticals is suspending sales of its leukemia drug Iclusig because of concerns that patients could suffer from blood clots. SENT: 240 words.
— CROWN HOLDINGS-ACQUISITION — Crown Holdings is spending $1.64 billion to acquire the Spanish canning company Mivisa Envases and expand its footprint in Europe. SENT: 110 words.
— JAPAN-US-NUCLEAR — U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says he expects deepening cooperation with Japan over the high-stakes cleaning up and decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. SENT: 580 words, photos.
— CANADA-BARRICK-PASCUA-LAMA — The world's largest gold mining company decides to temporarily suspend construction of its troubled Pascua-Lama gold mine that straddles the border between Chile and Argentina. By Rob Gillies. SENT: 900 words.
DALLAS — Exxon Mobil's profit is down 18 percent from last year, but the oil and gas giant is still made nearly $8 billion in three months. SENT: 400 words, photo.
AMSTERDAM — Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, says third quarter earnings fell due to weaker demand for fuel and a drop in output, particularly in Nigeria, where attacks on pipelines have forced shutdowns. By Toby Sterling. SENT: 480 words, photo.
TOKYO — The "White House Down" flop added to earnings woes at Sony Corp. in the latest quarter, dragging the entertainment and electronics giant to a 19.3 billion yen ($196 million) loss. The action movie's lackluster box office contributed to a 17.8 billion yen ($181 million) operating loss for Sony's pictures division. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 600 words, photos.
AMSTERDAM — Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, says its third-quarter profits rose as the takeover of new brands and higher selling prices offset the impact of lower sales volumes. By Toby Sterling. SENT: 390 words, photo.
NEW YORK — MasterCard says its third quarter profit rose 14 percent as it processed more payments. SENT: 260 words.
— EARNS-MGM — MGM Resorts' third-quarter loss narrowed as gambling revenue improved and it paid less interest on debt. SENT: 250 words. UPCOMING: will be updated after 11:30 a.m. conference call.
— BRITAIN-EARNS-ASTRAZENECA — British drugmaker AstraZeneca says third-quarter net profit fell 17.5 percent to 1.25 billion pounds ($200 billion) as the patents on older drugs expired. SENT: 200 words.
— FRANCE-EARNS-BNP PARIBAS — BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, says that profit held up in the third quarter despite a drop in revenue due to weak retail and investment banking activity. SENT: 230 words.
— FRANCE-EARNS-ALCATEL-LUCENT — Telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent SA lost 200 million euros ($274,000) in the third quarter, including costs of restructuring efforts aimed at turning around the long-struggling company. SENT: 250 words.
— FRANCE-EARNS-TOTAL — French oil company Total says that net income fell 10 percent in the July-to-September period, partially due to poor refining margins amid a sluggish European economy. SENT: 150 words.
— FRANCE-EARNS-AIR FRANCE-KLM — Weak demand in a poor economy and stiff competition pushed Air France-KLM's net profit down more than 50 percent in the third quarter, the Franco-Dutch airline says. SENT: 260 words.
— GERMANY-EARNS-LUFTHANSA — German airline Lufthansa says net profit for the first nine months of the year fell 65 percent, to 247 million euros ($340 million) from 697 million euros in the same period a year ago. SENT: 130 words, photo.
— GERMANY-EARNS-BAYER — Drug and materials company Bayer AG says net profit rose 42 percent as sales increased for its new drugs aimed at preventing blood clots and treating the eye disease macular degeneration, while one-time expenses dropped. SENT: 270 words.
— NETHERLANDS-EARNS-RANDSTAD — Randstad Holding NV, the second-largest global staffing company, reports net profit rose 22 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier and names Jacques van den Broek as new CEO beginning in February 2014. SENT: 130 words.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-APPLE MACBOOK PRO
CUPERTINO, Calif. — The choice was simpler when I was shopping around for a new Mac laptop a year ago: I could have spent much more for a nicer screen and less weight, or spend the money on power and storage. With new MacBook Pro models, Apple is making it tougher for customers to choose — in a good way. Besides cutting prices, Apple also made the new laptops faster and extended their battery life. There are still some trade-offs to consider, but the new prices make trading off power for style much more tempting. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 950 words, photo, video.
CHICAGO — William C. Lowe had a bold idea: IBM should develop a personal computer that could be mass marketed, expanding the company's reach beyond businesses and into people's homes. Lowe, who was credited with fostering collaboration within the computer industry, died on Oct. 19 in Lake Forest, Ill., of a heart attack, his daughter Michelle Marshall said. He was 72. By Tammy Webber. SENT: 450 words.
NEW YORK — Shares of Chinese online classifieds marketplace 58.com are soaring on their first trading day after pricing at $17 each on Wednesday night in the company's initial public offering. SENT: 130 words.
BEIJING — China's troubled solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Ltd. says it's in line to receive a $150 million investment from a company controlled by its hometown government as it restructures following a debt default. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 530 words.
— VIETNAM-DISSIDENT ARREST — A pro-democracy blogger broke the news of his own detention and eventual release in Vietnam through Facebook, another sign of how the social network is shaking up the country's activist movement and worrying its authoritarian rulers. SENT: 370 words.
— RUSSIA-SNOWDEN — Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer for former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, says his client has found a technical support job at a Russian website. SENT: 130 words, photo.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-THAT PROMISE
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's soothing promise that Americans happy with their health insurance could simply keep it was doomed from the start, and everyone familiar with the market seemed to recognize that except the president. By Calvin Woodward. SENT: 650 words, photo.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-RED STATE PUSH
HOUSTON — Houston is using the same strategy used to respond to hurricanes to help reach more than 1 million people who don't have health insurance by providing office space, laptops and cellphones for workers reaching out to the uninsured. The push is happening in one of the nation's reddest states, an example of the gap between the vitriolic political opposition to President Barack Obama's signature initiative in some conservative bastions and the actual response to it by local officials. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti. SENT: 800 words, photos.
WASHINGTON — Facing a sluggish economy, President Barack Obama is helping connect foreign and domestic companies and investors with economic development organizations across the country while promoting the United States as a sound business environment. By Jim Kuhnhenn. SENT: 160 words. UPCOMING: will be updated after Obama remarks at 1:30 p.m.
BRUSSELS —The unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone remains at a record high of 12.2 percent in September as the bloc's nascent recovery failed to generate new jobs, official data shows. By Juergen Baetz. SENT: 350 words, photo.
— GERMANY-ECONOMY — German consumer confidence slips slightly in the first major survey since September's election, but overall showed little change over the previous month. SENT: 150 words.
— INDONESIA-WORKERS STRIKE — Thousands of laborers across Indonesia are on a two-day strike demanding benefits and higher pay while protesting the hiring of contract workers. SENT: 250 words, photos.
— PORTUGAL-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Lisbon subway workers walk off the job for the fifth time this year as labor groups continue their fight against austerity measures and economic reforms. SENT: 380 words, photos.
— CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS — A commission of experts says Cyprus should offer a state guarantee on all deposits once it removes limits on money flows. SENT: 130 words.
— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Thousands of anti-austerity protesters clogged the Greek capital's streets to demonstrate against government plans to introduce a new property tax as bailout lenders prepare to conduct another inspection next week. SENT: 360 words, photos.
MONEY & MARKETS:
Despite a 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government, investors continued to pour money into the market in October. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average both rose to all-time highs. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
Starbucks' profit climbs
A commitment to offering more enticing food items helped Starbucks lift its profit by 34 percent in the third quarter. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.