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  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, according government data on Thursday that suggested a mild improvement in the labor market. SEAN INCREMONA, ECONOMIST, 4 CAST LTD, NEW YORK. JOHN CANALLY, ECONOMIST, LPL FINANCIAL, BOSTON.

  • Rare US meningitis outbreak grows; 4 dead, 22 sick Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:40 AM ET

    Eighteen of the cases are in Tennessee, where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid.. Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two in Maryland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were in Tennessee, and Virginia and Maryland had one each, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Frida Kahlo, her real look, on display in Mexico Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:39 AM ET

    She graced dinner parties and theaters from Paris to New York in ribbons, full skirts and loose peasant blouses embroidered with vividly colored flowers, and her uni-brow was a bold contrast to the pencil-line eyebrows of the time.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, according government data on Thursday that suggested a mild improvement in the labor market. JOHN CANALLY, ECONOMIST, LPL FINANCIAL, BOSTON. OMER ESINER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, COMMONWEALTH FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WASHINGTON.

  • Macy's September revenue up 2.5 percent Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:38 AM ET

    CINCINNATI-- Macy's said Thursday that a key measure of revenue rose 2.5 percent in September, coming in short of analysts' predictions for a gain of 3.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, according government data on Thursday that suggested a mild improvement in the labor market. OMER ESINER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, COMMONWEALTH FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WASHINGTON.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stock index futures held their early gains after weekly initial jobless claims rose a tad less than expected last week to 367,000, compared with analysts' estimates for 370,000 claims.

  • McCaskill raises $5.8M; Akin backs abortion remark Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:31 AM ET

    Claire McCaskill touted a $5.8 million fundraising haul for her re-election campaign Wednesday as Republican challenger Todd Akin sought to raise cash amid new attention to his remarks about abortion.

  • Oct 4- Social media company Facebook Inc said on Thursday it reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month, and is up by 45 mi llion us ers since June. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, hit the 1 billion milestone on Sept. 14 at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time, the company said on its website.

  • TABLE - U.S. jobless claims rose in latest week Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:30 AM ET

    Oct 4- U.S. Labor Department report of initial state jobless benefit claims, seasonally adjusted. Initial Claims: Sept. 22 from 359,000. Mississippi 3,314 Ohio 1,975 Michigan 1,179.

  • Fewer U.S. foreclosures completed in August -CoreLogic Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:30 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 4- Lenders seized fewer U.S. homes in August, in part due to the rising popularity of alternatives to foreclosure, data analysis firm CoreLogic said on Thursday. There were 57,000 foreclosures completed in August, down from 58,000 in July and 75,000 a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

  • BRIEF-Gap down in premarket after September sales Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:23 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 4- Gap Inc:.

  • Retailers report slower sales growth in Sept Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:23 AM ET

    September sales rose 3.9 percent _ a slowdown from the 6- percent rise in August _ as 22 retailers like Macy's and Costco reported mixed results, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. "This should set up to be a good holiday season," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics LLC, a research firm.

  • Wall Street futures higher ahead of jobless claims Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:22 AM ET

    Dow futures are up 46 points to 13,472. The broader S&P 500 futures are up 6 points to 1,451. Nasdaq futures are up 13 points to 2,821.. Investors are also awaiting news from the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

  • Oct 4- Social media company Facebook Inc said on Thursday it reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month, and is up more than 50 million users since June. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, hit the 1 billion milestone on Sept. 14 at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time, the company said on its website.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- CollabRx Inc:.

  • A phone home: NY teens pay valets to store devices Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:04 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- Thousands of teenagers who can't take their cellphones to school have another option, courtesy of a burgeoning industry of sorts in always-enterprising New York City: paying a dollar a day to leave it in a truck that's parked nearby.

  • BRIEF-Informatica drops in premarket after Q3 warning Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:03 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 4- Informatica Corp:.

  • Morgan Stanley commodities talks with Qatar hit snag Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:02 AM ET

    *Morgan Stanley in commodities talks with Qatar for a year. DUBAI/ LONDON, Oct 4- Morgan Stanley's talks with Qatar's sovereign wealth fund over the sale of its commodities business have run into difficulty, and the deal may need to be reworked if it is to go ahead, banking sources said.

  • Facebook tops 1 billion users Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:00 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- Facebook has topped 1 billion users, but the past few months have not been easy. Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Thursday to announce that the social networking site has more than 1 billion active users each month. He thanked users and said that he is committed to making Facebook better.