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The national average for a gallon of gas has dropped 13 cents in the past week to $3.625. That's the biggest weekly decline since the 7- day period ended Nov. 28, 2008, according to Oil Price Information Services analyst Fred Rozell. Rozell says gas has averaged $3.65 so far this year, 10 cents above the record set in 2011..
*HSBC flash China manufacturing PMI due around 0145 GMT. Asian markets will also focus on HSBC's latest report on China's manufacturing sector due around 0145 GMT, with any negative surprise likely to further hurt fragile sentiment. The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 percent on Wednesday.
LONDON-- Cooks, cleaners and dozens of other female workers won a key equal pay ruling at Britain's High Court on Wednesday in a case which lawyers say will effectively extend the amount of time people in this country have to file such claims.
ATHENS, Greece-- Greece's Finance Minister said the country has been granted a long-sought extension to meet the terms of its bailout program _ but the claim was swiftly shot down as "speculation" by the European Central Bank and lead lender Germany.
FALLS CHURCH, Va.-- General Dynamics said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income fell 8 percent, as higher costs more than offset a modest revenue increase. The Falls Church, Va., aerospace and defense company earned $600 million, or $1.70 per share, down from $652 million, or $1.80 per share, in the same quarter last year.
DALLAS-- Consumer products company Kimberly-Clark net income rose 20 percent, helped by cost cuts and lower costs for commodities like fiber and other raw materials. The company, which makes Kleenex tissue and Huggies diapers, also raised its earnings projection for the year and said it was ending some diaper operations in Europe.
TOKYO, Oct 24- Japan's Nikkei share average dropped at Wednesday's open after poor U.S. earnings increased uneasiness about the outlook for local companies, and looked set to break its seven-day winning streak despite hopes for a policy easing by the Bank of Japan.
BERLIN-- A German discount clothing chain says it will pay $500,000 to the relatives of some 260 workers who died in a blaze at a factory in Pakistan last month. The payment amounts to less than $2,000 for each victim at the Karachi factory where workers produced garments for German company KiK and others.
THE OUTCOME: Third-quarter profit more than doubles for biotech drugmaker Amgen Inc., mainly because of a $780 million legal charge a year earlier to settle investigations into kickbacks and marketing practices. THE NUMBERS: Net income was $1.11 billion, or $1.41 per share, up from $454 million, or 50 cents a share.
*iPad mini is Apple's first foray into small tablets. SAN JOSE, Oct 23- Apple Inc will begin to sell an 8- inch version of the iPad on Friday to compete with Amazon.com Inc's Kindle and other smaller tablets, but it set a higher-than-expected price tag of $329 that Wall Street fears could curb demand.
A proposed settlement of a national class-action lawsuit, filed Oct. 16 in U.S. District Court in Vermont, says the government will revise its Medicare manual to make benefits available when care would only ``maintain the patient's current condition or... prevent or slow further deterioration''.
*Amazon, Google helped force its hand-analysts. SAN JOSE, Oct 23- Apple Inc will begin to sell an 8- inch version of the iPad on Friday to compete with Amazon.com Inc's Kindle and other smaller tablets, but it set a higher-than-expected price tag of $329 that Wall Street fears could curb demand.
*Brands want to stop unauthorized discounting on Amazon. *Amazon's 3rd- party selling platform a high-margin business. SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 23- Amazon.com Inc is grappling with a problem that eBay Inc has struggled with for years: The proliferation of unauthorized third-party sellers that undercut the world's top consumer brands.
Oct 23- A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a $9.2 million securities arbitration ruling against Morgan Keegan& Co stemming from a group of bond funds that became the subject of a civil fraud action by regulators.
BANGKOK-- Asian stock markets fell Wednesday following a slew of bleak U.S. corporate results, but losses were cushioned by a report suggesting China's manufacturing slump may be bottoming out. The result means that China's manufacturing shrank again, but at a slower rate than the previous month.
NEW YORK, Oct 23- Broadcom Corp on Tuesday forecast a decline in revenue for the fourth quarter due to challenging market conditions including weakness in its infrastructure chip business.
NEW YORK, Oct 23- Pollution from factories and mines is putting the health of 125 million people at risk worldwide and is as dangerous in the developing world as malaria or tuberculosis, according to a report published on Tuesday by two environmental advocacy groups.
Oct 23- Amgen Inc on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected third-quarter profit in its first full quarter under Chief Executive Robert Bradway and it raised its full-year earnings and revenue forecasts.
BEIJING-- China's manufacturing improved this month, adding to signs a recovery might be taking shape after a sharp slump in the world's No. 2 economy. A preliminary version of HSBC's monthly purchasing managers' index rose to a three-month high of 49.1 points on a 100- point scale, the bank said Wednesday.