AP News

Business Highlights


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US economy adds 171,000 jobs; unemployment rate rises to 7.9 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October, and hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought. The solid job growth showed that the economy is strengthening slowly but consistently.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September. That was mainly because more people began looking for work, and not all of them found jobs. The government uses a separate survey to calculate the unemployment rate, and it counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they're looking for one.

Friday's report was the last major snapshot of the economy before Tuesday's elections. It's unclear what political effect the report might have. By now, all but a few voters have made up their minds, particularly about the economy, analysts say.

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Fuel shortage means gridlock in lines for gasoline

NEW YORK (AP) — When it came to fuel supplies and patience, the New York metro area was running close to empty Friday.

From storm-scarred New Jersey to parts of Connecticut, a widespread lack of gasoline or electricity to pump it brought grousing, gridlock and worse, compounding frustrations as millions of Americans struggled to return to normal days after Superstorm Sandy. A man pulled a gun in one gas-line fracas that led an arrest.

Lines of cars, and in many places queues of people on foot carrying bright red jerry cans for generators, waited for hours for the precious fuel. And those were the lucky ones. Other customers gave up after finding only closed stations or dry pumps marked with yellow tape or "No Gas" signs.

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EPA finds Hyundai, Kia overstated gas mileage

DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai and Kia overstated the gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles sold in the past three years, a discovery that could bring sanctions from the U.S. government and millions of dollars in reimbursements to car owners.

The inflated mileage was uncovered in an audit of test results by the Environmental Protection Agency, which ordered the Korean automakers to replace fuel economy stickers on the affected cars. The new window stickers will have figures that are one-to-six miles per gallon lower depending on the model, the agency said Friday.

The EPA's inquiry into the overstated figures is continuing, and the agency would not comment when asked if the companies will be fined or if a criminal investigation is under way.

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US factory orders rise 4.8 percent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies boosted their orders for manufactured goods by the largest amount in 18 months in September, but they remained cautious in ordering goods that signal plans to expand and modernize.

Factory orders rose 4.8 percent in September compared to August, a month when orders had fallen 5.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The September gain was the biggest since March 2011 and was driven by a surge in demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile category which had seen orders plunge in August.

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Lower production, prices hurt Chevron 3Q profit

Chevron Corp. said Friday its third-quarter net income fell 33 percent as production declined and it sold oil and gas at lower prices.

The nation's second-largest oil company earned $5.25 billion, or $2.69 per share, in the July-through-September quarter. That compared with net income of $7.83 billion, or $3.92 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell to $55.66 billion from $61.26 billion.

The sluggish global economy has cut into worldwide demand for energy products, from gasoline and diesel to jet fuel. Concerns about economic growth have caused oil and natural gas prices to fall, hurting the bottom line for oil producers.

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Ralph Lauren 2Q net falls 8 percent; sees Sandy effect

NEW YORK (AP) — Ralph Lauren says reduced wholesale shipments to Europe and a tax cost drove down its fiscal second-quarter net income by 8 percent, and the clothing company trimmed its revenue expectations for the year amid a global economic slowdown.

The company also said that Superstorm Sandy is affecting the current quarter, which runs through December, but it's too early to tell by how much.

Ralph Lauren said that about a dozen of 81 stores that were closed Monday have been re-opened. Peterson also said Ralph Lauren's online sales were disrupted as many shoppers lost electricity.

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Berkshire Hathaway buying Oriental Trading

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett will soon be prepared to throw a giant party for almost any occasion now that his Berkshire Hathaway is buying Oriental Trading Co.

The deal announced Friday will give Buffett ready access to Oriental Trading's catalog of more than 40,000 party supplies, arts, crafts, toys and other trinkets.

With the acquisition, Berkshire is adding another business based in Buffett's hometown of Omaha to its portfolio of 80-some companies. The deal is expected to close by the end of November.

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Supervalu to lay off 700 at its Shaw's chain

NEW YORK (AP) — Supervalu will cut about 700 grocery store jobs at a subsidiary in New England, two weeks after it posted a loss for the second quarter and said it was considering selling the company.

The company said Friday that the job cuts will take place at 169 Shaw's and Star Market stores. Shaw's, with about 17,000 staffers, is one of the oldest supermarkets in the U.S., dating back to the 1860s.

Supervalu Inc., based in Eden Prairie, Minn., fired its CEO in July after closing stores and suspending its dividend.

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IDC: Android on 75 percent of smartphones in 3Q

NEW YORK (AP) — Google's Android software for mobile devices was running on 75 percent of smartphones shipped in the third quarter, as the search company extended its lead over Apple, according to research firm IDC.

Apple's iOS system, used in iPhones, was second with a market share of 15 percent. Apple's new iPhone didn't come out until late in the quarter, while Samsung Electronics Co. and other Android makers had major releases earlier.

A year ago, Android had just 58 percent to the iPhone's 14 percent. Gains came largely at the expense of BlackBerry and Symbian phones, according to Thursday's report from IDC.

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Restoration Hardware climbs in public debut

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Restoration Hardware jumped in the first day of trading, as investors decided to take a bet on a familiar retail name and the gradual housing recovery.

Shares rose $7.10, or 29.6 percent, to close at $31.10 Friday on the New York stock exchange. The home decor retailer and its shareholders raised $124 million, selling 5.2 million shares for $24 each.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 139.46 points, or 1.1 percent, at 13,093.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 13.39, or 0.9 percent, at 1,414.20. The Nasdaq composite index lost 37.93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,982.13.

Benchmark crude fell $2.23, or 2.2 percent, to close at $84.86. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, dropped $2.49, or 2.3 percent, to $105.68 in London.

Wholesale gasoline futures dropped 6 cents to $2.57 per gallon. Heating oil fell 9 cents to $2.95 per gallon. Natural gas dropped 14.5 cents to $3.55 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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