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  • WASHINGTON, Oct 24- General Dynamics Corp on Wednesday said uncertainty about future U.S. defense budgets affected government orders in its shorter-cycle businesses in the third quarter, driving the number of bids awaiting awards to record levels.

  • *Ireland set for return to modest economic growth. LONDON, Oct 24- The euro zone's most vulnerable economies, particularly Spain, face a much tougher 2013 than thought just three months ago, marked by prolonged recession and ever-rising unemployment, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

  • Oilfield operator RPC's 3Q profit falls 21 percent Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:35 PM ET

    ATLANTA-- Oilfield-services provider RPC Inc. said Wednesday that third-quarter earnings fell 21 percent and revenue declined on lower natural gas prices. Net income in the quarter was $66 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with $83.1 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 24- U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday as strong results from Boeing Co and positive data from China eased concerns about sluggish global growth. Boeing rose 2.1 percent to $74.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.55 points, or 0.65 percent, at 3,010.01.

  • Trustmark profit rises as bad loans fall Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:32 PM ET

    JACKSON, Miss.-- Trustmark Corp. says profit in the third quarter of 2012 rose 10.9 percent from the same three months of 2011, as it paid less interest on deposits and set aside less money to cover future bad loans.

  • Volkswagen mulls new midsize SUV for North America Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:32 PM ET

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- German automaker Volkswagen AG is considering the introduction of a new midsize SUV for the North American market, and its existing Tennessee plant is a contender for building it.

  • Oct 24- Lockheed Martin Corp, the largest U.S. weapons maker, on Wednesday posted an 11 percent increase in third-quarter earnings, beating expectations by a wide margin, and raised its full-year forecast. It raised its 2012 earnings forecast to a range of $8.20 to $8.40 from a range of $7.90 to $8.10.

  • Stepan shares fall after earnings miss estimates Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:30 PM ET

    NORTHFIELD, Ill.-- Shares of specialty chemical maker Stepan Co. tumbled nearly 6 percent Wednesday after the company's third-quarter earnings fell short of Wall Street estimates. But shares fell $5.71, or 5.9 percent, to $91.08 in afternoon trading. Stepan reported net income of $20.2 million, or $1.78 per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

  • *Nigeria loses out on $29 bln on cut-price gas deals-report. ABUJA, Oct 24- Nigeria lost out on tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues over the last decade from cut price deals struck between multinational oil companies and government officials, a confidential report seen by Reuters says.

  • New Abu Dhabi debt policy aims to cut risks Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:22 PM ET

    DUBAI/ ABU DHABI, Oct 24- An official document clarifying ultimate responsibility for new debt issuance by Abu Dhabi's government-related entities aims to eliminate any risk of a Dubai-style debt crisis in the emirate.

  • *Boeing climbs after earnings, outlook. NEW YORK, Oct 24- U.S. stock index futures advanced on Wednesday and pointed to a higher open, after data from China and Boeing provided temporary relief to a slumping market, and following declines Tuesday when the Dow suffered its biggest drop in four months.

  • Fact sheet: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:15 PM ET

    2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0 i Premium CVT. BASE PRICE: $21,995 for Premium with manual; $22,995 for Premium with CVT. OPTIONS: Moonroof plus navigation option package $2,000.

  • Discovery Labs shares sink, Surfaxin faces delay Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:15 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- Shares of Discovery Laboratories Inc. sank Wednesday after the drug developer said the availability of a new treatment for respiratory distress syndrome may be delayed until next year's second quarter. Discovery said it has started a plan to improve the method, and it will submit the updated specifications to the Food and Drug Administration.

  • Panel: Pregnant women, get whooping cough shot Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:12 PM ET

    ATLANTA-- An expert panel is urging every expecting mother to get a shot preventing whooping cough, preferably in the last three months of her pregnancy to help protect her baby. The advice follows a frightening resurgence of the dreaded childhood disease.

  • News Summary: Prison, $7B fine for rogue trader Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:11 PM ET

    THE SENTENCE: The Paris appeals court on Wednesday ordered former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel to spend three years in prison and pay back a staggering 4.9 billion in damages for one of the biggest trading frauds in history.

  • Owens Corning 3Q falls short Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:11 PM ET

    TOLEDO, Ohio-- Owens Corning reported a drop in its third-quarter profit on Wednesday due to lower demand for roofing and composites. Owens Corning earned $44 million, or 37 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 versus $124 million, or $1.01 per share, in the same quarter last year.

  • Visa hires JPMorgan's Charles Scharf as CEO Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:10 PM ET

    Oct 24- Visa Inc said Charles Scharf, a former head of JPMorgan Chase& Co's retail financial services division, will succeed Joseph Saunders as chief executive officer. Scharf, whose appointment is effective Nov. 1, has also been appointed to the payment network's board.

  • Another shift at the top for Patriot Coal Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:08 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- The CEO of Patriot Coal is stepping aside less than five months after taking the job. Irl Engelhardt, a long-time executive at Peabody where he served as chairman and director of one of the world's largest coal producers, took over this year just weeks before the troubled Peabody spin-off sought bankruptcy protection.

  • Mover: Panera's shares rise after strong 3Q report Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:03 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- Shares of Panera Bread Co. rose Wednesday, after the restaurant operator reported that its third-quarter profit jumped 27 percent, on strong demand for its soups and sandwiches, and the company raised its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings outlook.

  • COLUMN-European biofuel push hard to reverse: Wynn Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 1:03 PM ET

    LONDON, Oct 24- European policymakers are discovering the difficulty of curbing a biofuel industry they weaned five years ago as a low-carbon alternative to crude oil but which is increasingly at odds with the environment and food production. To halt or put into reverse a $22 billion European biofuel industry requires a sound justification.

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