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  • NEW YORK, Oct 25- Brent crude futures edged higher on Thursday after seven straight sessions of losses, as the threat of Hurricane Sandy to East Coast gasoline and heating oil supplies lifted markets.

  • SAO PAULO, Oct 25- Brazil's banking sector will undergo profound changes over the next two years as government efforts to keep interest rates at record lows translate into lower credit costs and more competition, the head of the nation's largest foreign lender said on Thursday.

  • *At least three storm-related deaths in Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba. HAVANA, Oct 25- Hurricane Sandy swelled into a serious threat to much of the U.S. East Coast on Thursday after hammering Cuba's second-largest city and taking aim at the Bahamas, U.S. forecasters said.

  • UPDATE 3-United Continental profit falls, shares down Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 7:11 PM ET

    Oct 25- United Continental Holdings Inc, the world's biggest airline, missed Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit as revenue fell and expenses rose, sending its shares down nearly 4 percent on Thursday.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 25- Two influential U.S. senators on Thursday urged regulators to resolve any differences and finish writing a controversial ban on proprietary trading known as the Volcker rule.

  • HealthSouth profit falls, but beats expectations Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 7:06 PM ET

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- Hospital operator HealthSouth Corp. reported a smaller third-quarter profit Thursday as expenses increased, though company results still beat Wall Street expectations. HealthSouth said revenue increased 7.9 percent to $537 million as the company treated 4.2 percent more patients in the quarter.

  • US STOCKS-Wall St gains slightly, led by P&G Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 7:04 PM ET

    *Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct. NEW YORK, Oct 25- Wall Street rose modestly on Thursday after the S&P 500' s worst five-day stretch since May, but economic figures and corporate results were not strong enough to inspire heavy buying.

  • Native women face patchwork of policies for Plan B Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:58 PM ET

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-- Months after the federal Indian Health Service said it was finalizing a policy that would make emergency contraception more accessible to American Indian women, advocates say they're still waiting.

  • *Adjusted loss 5 cents/ share vs Street view loss 7 cents. Oct 25- Fashion company Fifth& Pacific Cos Inc on Thursday said sales at its struggling Juicy Couture brand are improving so far this quarter and gave an encouraging holiday sales forecast for all three of its major brands, sending its shares up 11.4 percent.

  • TORONTO, Oct 25- McDonald's Corp will start selling ground coffee in major Canadian stores in November, in a new challenge to rivals like Starbucks Corp and Dunkin Donuts. The coffee, priced at C $6.99 for 340 grams, launches as McDonald's steps up its expansion in Canada, after holding back for more than five years. McDonald's has about 1,400 outlets in Canada.

  • Yahoo CEO Mayer buys mobile start-up Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:55 PM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 25- Yahoo Inc said on Thursday it bought a small, mobile start-up company in New York, marking one of new Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's first moves to revamp the struggling Web pioneer by acquiring outside products and technology.

  • Constant Contact 3Q profit rises 22 percent Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:52 PM ET

    WALTHAM, Mass.-- Online marketing company Constant Contact Inc. said Thursday that its third-quarter profit rose 22 percent as revenue rose, although the rate at which trial users were converted into customers was below expectations.

  • HONG KONG, Oct 26- Adam Gazal trained for six months to stand in the ring for six minutes of live boxing. The managing partner of National Australia Bank was one of 14 contenders who on Thursday took part in Hong Kong's sixth annual IronMonger Hedge Fund Fight Night, a fundraising event that is now a staple of the city's financial community.

  • *Stronger than expected UK growth supports risk-on trade. *Treasury sells $29 billion in seven-year notes. ``Today's auction was pretty lackluster,'' said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics in San Francisco.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 25- U.S. crude futures rose on Thursday in choppy trading, snapping a string of five lower settlements, boosted by supportive UK economic data and a rally by refined products futures on concerns about Hurricane Sandy affecting refineries on the East Coast.

  • *CEOs demand Congress find debt solution. WASHINGTON, Oct 25- Chief executives of more than 80 big U.S. corporations, including Goldman Sachs, Cisco Systems and Boeing, joined forces to press Congress to reduce the federal deficit in a rare show of broad corporate unity.

  • Principal Financial 3Q net soars on gain from sale Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:41 PM ET

    DES MOINES, Iowa-- Financial services company Principal Financial Group Inc. said Thursday that its profit more than doubled in the third quarter, lifted by a large gain from an investment sale. Net income for the July-through-September period was $179.7 million, or 60 cents per share, compared with $71.9 million, or 23 cents per share, a year earlier.

  • KLA-Tencor 1st quarter net income declines Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:33 PM ET

    MILPITAS, Calif.-- KLA-Tencor, which makes equipment for manufacturing semiconductors, said Thursday that its fiscal first-quarter net income fell 30 percent, hurt by weak demand across its industry. Net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 fell 30 percent to $135.4 million, or 80 cents per share.

  • UPDATE 1-S&P cuts French banks' credit ratings Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:32 PM ET

    *BNP Paribas' counterparty strength downgraded. PARIS, Oct 25- Ratings agency Standard& Poor's cut the credit ratings of several French banks including BNP Paribas on Thursday, warning they were becoming more exposed to a potentially protracted recession in the euro zone.

  • UPDATE 1-JD Power-LMC raise 2012 US auto sales forecast Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 | 6:31 PM ET

    DETROIT, Oct 25- J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive on Thursday raised the forecast for 2012 U.S. auto sales to 14.4 million vehicles, from the previous forecast of 14.3 million, as the auto industry continues to recover from its downturn three years ago.