*Baker Hughes rig count due later on Friday. U.S. crude was up 77 cents at $50.20 a barrel after rising as far as $50.58, the highest level in more than two months. Forecaster PIRA Energy Group issued a bullish oil price prediction on Thursday, saying oil would hit $70 a barrel by the end of next year and to trade at $75 in 2017..» Read More
Oct 31- Ally Financial Inc, the U.S. auto lender 74 percent owned by the U.S. government, on Wednesday said it has repaid $2.9 billion in debt issued under a financial-crisis-era program designed to bolster confidence in the banking system.
*Ford, Home Depot among the biggest gainers. *Apple shares fall, weighing on Nasdaq index. Ford Motor Co rallied 5 percent to $10.83 as the most-traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange after reporting strong results during the market closure.
DETROIT, Oct 31- General Motors Co is targeting $500 million in fixed-cost savings between 2013 and 2015, and it plans to make further job cuts in Europe as it seeks to break even in the region by mid-decade, the automaker said on Wednesday.
*Appeal aimed at G20 meeting in Mexico this week. GENEVA, Oct 31- The world's leading economies must revitalise both global trade and investment in developing countries to counter a new slowdown in economic growth, three key international organisations said on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON, Oct 31- The U.S. government's report on employment in October will be released on Friday as scheduled, the Labor Department's statistical arm said on Wednesday in a statement on its website.
OTTAWA, Oct 31- The Canadian government's review of the $15.1 billion bid by China's CNOOC Ltd for Canadian oil firm Nexen Inc is unlikely to be finished by next week's deadline, two sources close to the transaction said on Wednesday.
*Improved conditions do not change view Spain needs bailout. MADRID, Oct 31- The longer Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy puts off asking for aid from the euro zone, the greater the risk of further financial turmoil and an even worse recession in Spain, analysts say.
NEW YORK, Oct 31- U.S.
NEW YORK, Oct 31- Wall Street firms and U.S. banks scrambled to raise cash on Wednesday, as U.S. financial markets resumed normal trading after a devastating storm pummeled the U.S. East Coast and closed major markets for two days. The storm knocked out power for about 8 million people and flooded the New York subways.
Oct 31- Facebook Inc shares fell 4 percent in busy trade early on Wednesday as the company allowed employees to start selling some stock. As a result, Facebook staffers were able to sell their vested shares on Monday.
NEW YORK, Oct 31- The euro rose against the dollar on Wednesday and was headed for its third straight month of gains as U.S. stocks rose after a two-day closure for Hurricane Sandy, denting safe-haven demand for the U.S. currency. On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 rose at the open as equity markets reopened following a damaging storm in the U.S.
LONDON, Oct 31- GlaxoSmithKline sales fell a bigger-than-expected 8 percent in the third quarter, hurt by continued pressure on drug prices in austerity-hit Europe and lower demand for some vaccines. It was the fourth consecutive quarter in which Britain's biggest drugmaker missed sales and earnings expectations.
Oct 31- Farm equipment maker AGCO Corp posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year forecast on Wednesday, saying the massive drought in the United States this past summer has dented sales of machines that process large amounts of grain.
Northeast recovers from Hurricane Sandy, the following is a list of transportation service updates for New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia:.
ROME, Oct 31- Five months before an election that will be crucial not just for this country but the whole euro zone, Italy is mired in some of its greatest political uncertainty si n ce World War Two.
Oct 31- Five months before an election that will be crucial not just for this country but the whole euro zone, Italy is mired in some of its greatest political uncertainty since World War Two. Here is a look at recent governments in Italy:. Berlusconi complains of irregularities but Supreme Court upholds result on April 19.
ABU DHABI, Oct 31- Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Co expects to earn its first profit by 2015 as it scales up operations overseas, but plans to set up a chip manufacturing facility at home remain on hold, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Oct 31- More than 5.9 million homes and businesses along the U.S. East Coast remained without power on Wednesday morning after Hurricane Sandy battered the region. Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on Monday night. Power companies have reported a peak of nearly 8.5 million customers without power, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report.
CHICAGO, Oct 31- U.S. lumber futures soared on Wednesday on expectations for demand to increase in the aftermath of monster storm Sandy that caused massive flooding in the northeastern United States, damaging numerous homes that would need rebuilding.
Oct 31- MasterCard Inc, the No.2 credit and debit card network, reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates as more people across the globe opted to use cards instead of cash. Higher consumer spending in the United States also helped to boost MasterCard's third-quarter profit.