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  • RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 25- Brazilian mining company Vale SA plans to sell underperforming assets in a push to control costs and boost profits, executives said on Thursday, a day after reporting weak earnings and a halt to work on a giant iron ore mine in Guinea, West Africa.

  • *National Union of Mineworkers accepts gold industry offer. JOHANNESBURG, Oct 25- South Africa's gold mines agreed a wage deal with unions on Thursday as the bulk of the gold sector's striking miners returned to work under threat of dismissal.

  • *Dominion to shut Kewaunee reactor in Wisconsin next year. On the company's third-quarter earnings call, Dominion said the three plants are the 1,536- megawatt Brayton Point coal, natural gas and oil-fired facility in Massachusetts; the 1,158- MW Kincaid coal plant in Illinois; and the company's stake in the 1,424- MW Elwood gas plant in Illinois.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 25- U.S. stocks erased early morning gains and turned negative, weighed down by declines in the materials and telecom sectors. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 21.92 points, or 0.17 percent, to 13,055.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 2.31 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,979.38.

  • News Summary: Copper falls on demand questions Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:42 PM ET

    SLUMPING COPPER: Copper dropped after unimpressive reports on September home sales and orders for long-lasting goods failed to ease questions about future demand.

  • Marcellus Shale business merger activity slows Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:40 PM ET

    PITTSBURGH-- The wheeling and dealing over the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale has hit the pause button. PwC said low natural gas prices were the main factor, not the output or potential of the vast shale gas formation that lies under parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Ohio and Maryland.

  • La. accountants seek information on tax credit Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:37 PM ET

    BATON ROUGE, La.-- Louisiana accountants have asked the Department of Revenue for more guidance on who is eligible for the state's alternative fuel vehicle tax credit, as Gov.

  • Sanofi and Unilever nudge European shares higher Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:36 PM ET

    LONDON, Oct 25- Reassuring updates from drugmaker Sanofi and consumer goods group Unilever lifted European shares on Thursday, although some traders felt worries over the euro zone would limit further moves higher.

  • News Summary: Sales contracts for US homes edge up Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:36 PM ET

    TINY INCREASE: The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose in September to a reading of 99.5. That's up from August's reading of 99.2 but below a two-year high of 101.9 reached in July.

  • Nevada taxable sales up 7.6 percent in August Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:35 PM ET

    CARSON CITY, Nev.-- Taxable sales in Nevada jumped 7.6 percent in August over the same month a year ago, with strong gains reported in several sectors including sales of cars and durable goods.

  • News Summary: Applications for US jobless aid fall Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:34 PM ET

    APPLICATIONS FALL: Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The drop came after the figures were distorted for two weeks by technical problems.

  • Oct 25- ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street estimates as they produced more oil and gas than expected, even as lower prices hurt profits. Conoco had record output in the Eagle Ford basin in south Texas, while Occidental saw strong production of higher-priced crude oil in the Permian Basin.

  • FACTBOX-Euro zone debt crisis: upcoming events Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:30 PM ET

    GERMANY: POLITICS: Oct. 29, DUBLIN- German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble meets his Irish counterpart Tony Noonan. EUROPEAN UNION: Nov. 12- Meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels, expected to discuss the situation in Greece, as well as in Spain. Nov. 13- Meeting of all EU finance ministers in Brussels.

  • On the Call: United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:29 PM ET

    United Airlines knows it needs to get back on its customers' good side. And parent company United Continental Holdings Inc. reported just $6 million in net income for the quarter. CEO Jeff Smisek said he knows that some regular customers went elsewhere, and that the airline is working to win them back.

  • F5 Networks shares slump on December quarter view Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:28 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- Shares of F5 Networks Inc. sank Thursday after the company's forecast for the current quarter disappointed, and the company said the slower economy is weighing on its customers.

  • *Q3 EPS, excluding items, $1.29, vs. Oct 25- Celgene Corp's quarterly earnings rose 14 percent, beating expectations on strong sales of its Revlimid cancer treatment and lower costs, but investors were more focused on ongoing studies of its promising new medicines and wider uses for Revlimid. Excluding special items, Celgene earned $1.29 per share.

  • Oil ends slightly higher, around $86 a barrel Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:25 PM ET

    Benchmark oil gained 32 cents to finish at $86.05 a barrel in New York. Brent crude added 64 cents to end at $108.49 a barrel in London. Any reading above that could spark a rise in oil to the $87- $88 a barrel level, said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.

  • On the Call: Aetna Chairman, CEO Mark Bertolini Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:25 PM ET

    A couple large employers, Sears Holding Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc., are switching to this approach, and benefits experts say many others are considering it. On Thursday, Credit Suisse analyst Ralph Giacobbe asked Aetna officials during a conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings what they thought of it.

  • Microsoft set to unveil Windows 8, Surface tablet Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:25 PM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 25- Microsoft Corp launches its new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet in New York Thursday, hoping to revive interest in its flagship product and regain ground lost to Apple Inc and Google Inc in mobile computing.

  • Weak business spending drags on US growth Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 3:24 PM ET

    WASHINGTON-- Companies are holding off on purchases of computers, industrial equipment and other long-lasting manufactured goods, a trend that's slowing the U.S. economy. A fourth straight month of lackluster corporate spending led many economists on Thursday to trim their forecasts for growth in the July-September quarter.