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  • NEW YORK-- Americans are expected to spend more during what's traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, but they're not exactly ready to shop `til they drop like they have been in the past two years.

  • Since when did the signatures of today's celebrity athletes become worse than your local physician's scrawl on a prescription slip? Yes, I know, some now put their uniform number under their scribble. Have the constant paparazzi-like, autograph-stalking fans caused players to rebel by putting a bumpy line with a number as their autograph?

  • South Korea's Kospi rose nearly 0.3 percent to 2,001.41 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 4,413.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia also rose. The better news on manufacturing helped investors set aside concerns of a possible downgrade by credit rating agency Moody's of Spain's debt rating to junk status.

  • LOS ANGELES-- A divided appellate court on Monday upheld Don Johnson's multimillion jury award over profits from the series "Nash Bridges" but significantly reduced the amount the actor is eligible to receive.

  • South Korea's Kospi rose nearly 0.3 percent to 2,001.41 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 4,413.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia also rose. The better news on manufacturing helped investors set aside concerns of a possible downgrade by credit rating agency Moody's of Spain's debt rating to junk status.

  • DETROIT-- Interest rates are low, trade-in values are high, and carmakers are rolling out attractive new models in key areas. All of these factors combined to keep auto sales strong in September.

  • PARIS-- Everyone loves a high-profile rivalry, but perhaps the fashion world more than most. In the Christian Dior ring, Raf Simons _ the house designer appointed in April whose Friday collection wowed journalists _ and in Yves Saint Laurent's, Hedi Slimane, the 44- year-old appointed in March, who himself used to work at Dior menswear.

  • NEW YORK-- Toys R Us will offer a price matching guarantee on all of its toys and products in stores this holiday season, the toy seller said Monday. Toy analysts say retailers are being tight with inventory this year, so those wanting in-demand toys like Monster High dolls and the LeapPad2 tablet should buy early.

  • NEW YORK-- New York prosecutors say the multibillion-dollar fraud carried out by Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff began as far back as the early 1970 s. The revelation comes in a rewritten indictment boosting charges against four long-time employees of the investment firm Madoff ran from his Manhattan offices.

  • NEW YORK-- The New York attorney general's office has hit JPMorgan Chase& Co. with a civil lawsuit, alleging that investment bank Bear Stearns _ prior to its collapse and subsequent sale to JPMorgan in 2008 _ perpetrated massive fraud in deals involving billions in residential mortgage-backed securities.

  • Daina Shipping, a subsidiary of Greek-based Costamare, along with its insurers agreed Tuesday to settle with New Zealand for $22.9 million for oil cleanup costs incurred so far and another $8.6 million if it doesn't remove the pieces of the wreck that still sit on the reef.

  • WASHINGTON-- Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday's auction with rates on three-month bills dropping to the lowest level since early June. The Treasury Department auctioned $32 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.085 percent, down from 0.110 percent last week.

  • CONSTRUCTION SLIPS: U.S. construction spending fell for a second straight month, dipping 0.7 percent in August compared to July. HOUSING UP: Construction of new homes and apartments rose, further evidence of a rebound in housing.

  • NEW YORK-- Standard& Poor's said Monday specialty pet retailer PetSmart Inc. will join the benchmark S&P 500 index after the close of trade Thursday, replacing Sunoco Inc. which is being acquired by Energy Transfer Partners LP. Cabela's Inc., a specialty retailer of hunting and fishing gear, will move from the SmallCap 600 to the MidCap 400, replacing PetSmart.

  • NEW YORK-- Fifth& Pacific Cos. cut its 2012 earnings guidance Monday, citing weak sales of Juicy Couture products. Fifth& Pacific cut its estimated 2012 EBITDA by $25 million and also forecast a weak third quarter.

  • GREENWICH, Conn.-- Shares of Blyth Inc. rose more than 7 percent in after-hours trading Monday after the company said it agreed to defer the final closing of its purchase of ViSalus, in which it already owns a majority stake, until April 2014. Blyth first invested in ViSalus in August 2008, buying a 43.6 percent stake for $13 million.

  • Among the stock activity stories for Monday, Oct. 1, from AP Business News:. _ Shares of Healthcare Services Group Inc. rose after a UBS analyst said the company, which provides housekeeping and food services to hospitals and nursing homes, should be able to sustain its strong growth.

  • NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- The security contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee was fired Monday after authorities said three protesters cut through fences and vandalized a building in an unprecedented break-in.

  • Among the stock activity stories for Monday, Oct. 1, from AP Business News:. _ Shares of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose after an article posted on the website of Barron's magazine predicted that the investment bank's stock could climb at least 25 percent over the next year.

  • BERNANKE DEFENDS POLICIES: Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday defended bold policies adopted at the Federal Reserve's September meeting. The stimulus is needed because economy isn't growing fast enough to reduce high unemployment, Bernanke told the Economic Club of Indiana.