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  • Mississippi: Down 3,393, no reason given. Michigan: Down 2,639, no reason given. Florida: Down 1,972, due to fewer layoffs in agriculture, construction, and wholesale trade.

  • NEW YORK-- Safeway Inc. said Thursday that its profit margin slipped in the third quarter as it spent money on launching a new customer loyalty program, an investment the supermarket operator said should drive sales going forward. The sale of Safeway's Genuardi's chain helped offset the declines and pushed the company's net income up 21 percent.

  • PLEASANTON, Calif.-- Heart device maker Thoratec on Thursday said it promoted Taylor C. Harris to chief financial officer. Thoratec, based in Pleasanton, Calif., makes HeartMate pumps, which are used in patients who are waiting for a heart transplant or for those who are too sick to have heart transplant surgery.

  • NEW YORK-- Safeway Inc. says its net income rose 21 percent in the third quarter as it benefited from the sale of its Genuardi's stores. The Pleasanton, Calif.- based company, which also operates Vons, Dominick's and other grocery chains, says it earned $157 million, or 66 cents per share, in the period. That compares with $130.2 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago.

  • Oct 11- Supermarket operator Safeway Inc posted a lower quarterly profit from continuing operations on Thursday amid rising competition from other grocery sellers, while net profit increased, helped by the sale of some stores.

  • SAN DIEGO-- City officials say a San Diego judge ordered Rite Aid Corp. and its California subsidiary Thrifty PayLess Inc. to pay $800,000 to settle a complaint alleging false advertising.

  • Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. has raised about $70.4 million in its initial public offering of 4.4 million shares. The Calabasas, Calif., company, which is developing an injectable treatment for double chins, priced its IPO at $16 per share, or the top end of its estimated range.

  • NEW YORK-- Williams-Sonoma's potential for international expansion could position the company for solid sales growth in the near and long term, William Blair as it raised its rating on the upscale home goods company.

  • DALLAS-- A federal judge in Texas has sentenced a man to 23 years in prison and ordered him to pay $13 million in restitution over an investment scam he ran out of his home in California. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that 37- year-old Bradley Stark, formerly of Riverside, Calif., was sentenced on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

  • *IRS taking' hard line' on accounting issue-lawyer. The dispute centers on an accounting practice- known as the "completed contract method"- that the IRS has scrutinized for years.

  • CAMPBELL, Calif.-- Online real estate company Move Inc. has purchased Relocation.com for $11.5 million in cash in order to strengthen its offerings and moving services. Move Inc. shares closed at $8.37 per share on Wednesday. Its shares are down 17 percent from their 52- week high of $10.06 set on March 26.

  • *Research house IDC still ranks HP in the lead* Lenovo shares rise nearly 2 pct in Hong Kong trade* HP stock touches lowest level since October By Poornima Gupta and Lee Chyen Yee.

  • Oct 11- Stan Lee Media, a company that says it controls the rights to Marvel characters including Spider Man and Iron Man, has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Colorado against the Walt Disney Co seeking "billions of dollars of profits." Disney acquired Marvel Enterprises, which had been renamed Marvel Entertainment, in 2009 for $4.3 billion.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits slid last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according to government data that may provide a boost to President Barack Obama a month before voters go to the polls.

  • AVONDALE, Penn., Oct 11- The Federal Reserve's stated intention to keep interest rates ultra low for nearly three more years is suggesting to some that the Fed is willing to cut the jobless rate at the expense of higher inflation, putting the central bank's credibility at risk, a top official of the U.S. central bank said on Thursday.

  • NEW YORK-- Safeway Inc. is betting that its investment in a new customer loyalty program will eventually pay off, as the supermarket operator looks to fend off big-box retailers and other competitors that are expanding their grocery aisles.

  • It was the second-consecutive monthly decline in filings, although there remains a sharp divergence along state lines, according to a report Thursday by foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc..

  • The parent company of Tully's Coffee has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will close nine stores this Sunday. The Seattle- based coffee chain has long struggled under the shadow of Starbucks Corp.. Tully's opened its first store in 1992. It has shops in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

  • Oct 11- Venture capital firm Panorama Capital and others have invested $10 million in video technology company Skyfire, which plans to expand into European and Asian markets on the back of surging usage of video on wireless devices.

  • *Lenovo shares rise nearly 2 pct in Hong Kong trade. SAN FRANCISCO/ HONG KONG, Oct 11- China's Lenovo Group Ltd edged out Silicon Valley icon Hewlett-Packard Co to become the world's No. 1 PC maker in the third quarter, according to data released by research house Gartner on Wednesday.