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  • April 17- Pfizer Inc was cleared of liability on Friday in the first lawsuit to go to trial of more than 1,000 filed across the United States alleging that its antidepressant Zoloft can cause birth defects, a company spokeswoman said. Plaintiff Kristyn Pesante claimed that Pfizer failed to warn that using Zoloft during pregnancy could cause birth defects, and...

  • NEW YORK, April 17- Global equity markets fell on Friday on reports about a crackdown on margin lending in China, while the dollar retreated on views that stronger U.S. consumer prices were not enough to offset recent weak data that could slow a Federal Reserve interest rate hike. China on Friday also allowed fund managers to lend stocks for short-selling and...

  • NEW YORK, April 17- The U.S. dollar posted its worst week in four against a currency basket on Friday after data showing a rise in consumer prices failed to alleviate concerns that recent soft U.S. economic data could delay the Federal Reserve's first rate hike. "The markets feel that the small price increase is not enough to force a June rate increase," said Chris...

  • Financial incentives OK'd for workplace wellness programs Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 | 11:28 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— In a victory for business, federal regulators said Thursday that employers can continue to use financial penalties and rewards to nudge staff to participate in fast-growing workplace wellness programs. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission— which enforces laws against discrimination— also proposed some safeguards for employees.

  • Panera Bread to sell cafes, increase buyback Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 6:40 PM ET

    April 15- Bakery cafe operator Panera Bread Co said it would sell and refranchise 73 company-owned cafes and increase its share buyback program to $750 million. The St. Louis- based company recently launched a program called Panera 2.0 in an effort aimed at delivering faster, more accurate service, particularly at peak hours when long lines can drive away...

  • Fed survey finds US economy growing at moderate pace Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 | 2:02 PM ET

    In its latest survey of business conditions around the country, the Fed said that eight of its 12 banking regions described the economy as growing at either a moderate or modest pace with two others— Atlanta and Kansas City— describing conditions as steady. The report said that a slowdown in the chemical industry had been reported by contacts in St. Louis and...

  • ST. LOUIS— A Missouri lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses three insurance agencies of failing to safeguard sensitive consumer data from hackers who recently breached health insurer Anthem Inc.' s computer networks. The Missouri suit alleges that compromised Anthem database information including names, employment details and Social Security...

  • TOPEKA, Kan.— A former candidate for Kansas governor said Monday that he and other attorneys who are suing two subsidiaries of Anthem Inc. can show that individuals were harmed after hackers breached the health insurer's computer networks. Paul Davis and other attorneys who filed the lawsuit earlier this month in Douglas County District Court on behalf of a...

  • ST. LOUIS— Federally approved health insurance counsellors in Missouri can continue to provide advice about health plans under a federal appeals court decision issued Friday. The 8th Circuit Court in St. Louis blocked some parts of a Missouri law that limits the information certified counselors authorized by President Barack Obama's health care law could...

  • April 9- U.S. consumer groups, scientists and food companies are testing substances ranging from breakfast cereal to breast milk for residues of the world's most widely used herbicide on rising concerns over its possible links to disease. Testing has increased in the last two years, but scientists say requests spiked after a World Health Organization...

  • Shares of Express Scripts jumped Thursday amid investor speculation that the pharmacy benefits manager's off-and-on relationship with Walgreens may take a torrid turn. Leaders of Walgreens said that they are open to considering more mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures. That integration is going better than expected, Walgreens Executive Vice...

  • NEW YORK, April 8- The Federal Reserve could still hike interest rates in June despite weak recent U.S. data and investor skepticism, two influential officials with the central bank said on Wednesday, putting the spotlight squarely on the economy's performance in the next two months. But New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor Jerome Powell on...

  • HOUSTON, April 8- Royal Dutch Shell Plc's $70 billion agreement to buy BG Group Plc may be just the signal that other dealmakers need to make their own energy takeover bets, particularly in the U.S. shale sector. "Things may be changing," said Rich Eychner, an equity research associate at Raymond James in Houston. There are literally dozens of shale oil and gas...

  • WASHINGTON, April 2- Boeing Co on Thursday said it will ramp up lobbying efforts to extend production of its F/A-18 fighter jets beyond the end of 2017 after the U.S. Navy asked Congress to fund 12 airplanes not included in the 2016 budget proposal. Dan Gillian, who runs the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G electronic attack jet programs for Boeing, told Reuters the company had...

  • *China signals stimuli for economy. Treasury debt prices were mostly little changed on Monday, with longer-dated maturities giving back some gains from last week, as equity markets rose on signs China was moving to bolster its massive economy. Stocks, which often move inversely from bonds in prices, surged to seven-year highs in China, helped by Beijing's...

  • WASHINGTON, March 17- The Pentagon is concerned that congressional funding for lists of "unfunded priorities" submitted by the U.S. military services will drain money out of other higher-priority programs, a top official said on Tuesday. Congress uses the unfunded lists as it shapes the yearly budget plan submitted by the Pentagon, often using them to promote...

  • The shooting of two police officers and a subsequent manhunt in Ferguson on Thursday have relit tensions that erupted in the St. Louis suburb after the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson in August. The shooting came as local businesses and home owners were showing the first timid signs of hope that Ferguson...

  • *Lingering concern over Greece adds to bearish tone in equities. "Expectations for the Fed to begin raising rates were being pushed out to the fourth quarter and what we are seeing is a temporary adjustment to the fact they may come as soon as June," said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist for State Street Global Advisors' U.S. Concerns over Greece added to...

  • *Lingering concern over Greece adds to bearish tone, hits stocks. *China CPI lands above forecast but producer prices still falling. Technical negotiations intended to prevent Greece going bankrupt and potentially being forced to abandon the euro bloc will start in Brussels on Wednesday.

  • NEW YORK, March 10- The U.S. dollar hit a fresh nearly 12- year peak against the euro and its highest level against the Japanese yen in nearly eight years on Tuesday on expectations for a mid-year Federal Reserve rate hike and the European Central Bank's bond-buying program. The euro fell to $1.07205, its lowest level since April 2003, before paring losses.