China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions, said sources involved in policy-making.» Read More
*3rd- qtr EPS, excluding items, $0.95, vs $0.92 forecast. Oct 26- Merck& Co Inc reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit, as a favorable tax rate and lower merger costs helped offset plunging sales of its former flagship product, Singulair, an asthma drug that began facing cheaper generics in August.
NEW YORK, Oct 26- U.S. stock index futures trimmed earlier declines and pointed to a steady open for Wall Street on Friday after data showed economic growth picked up at a faster pace than expected in the third quarter.
WASHINGTON-- Federal agencies are planning the first official measure of the arts and culture sector's impact on the nation's economic growth. The National Endowment for the Arts announced a partnership Friday with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to identify and calculate the contributions of the creative sector to U.S. gross domestic product.
Oct 26- Arch Coal Inc, one of the world's top five coal producers, reported a surprise profit as cost cuts paid off, and the company said thermal coal shipments were improving. Net profit rose to $45.8 million, or 22 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $8.9 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier.
LONDON, Oct 26- The euro hit a two-week low against the dollar and fell against the yen on Friday, with traders citing concerns that Greece may miss its austerity targets and political uncertainty in Athens.
Oct 26- Asset manager Legg Mason Inc said on Friday quarterly profit soared more than 42 percent, topping expectations, as the company reported its first quarterly net inflows of client funds since 2007..
*Storm causes deaths in Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica. NASSAU, Oct 26- Hurricane Sandy pounded the Bahamas with battering winds and rain on Friday, sweeping over the island chain after killing 21 people across the Caribbean and posing a menacing threat to the U.S. East Coast.
MADRID-- The International Monetary Fund says Spain's banking sector has made good and timely progress in meeting the terms of its bailout.
Oct 26- Interpublic Group of Cos, home to advertising agencies McCann Erickson and Draftfcb, reported a fall in revenue on lower spending by customers and some account losses in 2011..
HUNT VALLEY, Md.-- Health care real estate investment trust Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. said Friday that its funds from operations grew 27 percent in the third quarter as it boosted its rental income with acquisitions. The company said its funds from operations increased to $56.7 million, or 52 cents per share, from $44.5 million, or 43 cents per share.
Oct 26- Rockwell Collins Inc posted a lower quarterly profit on Friday, as weaker government sales overshadowed stronger commercial aerospace sales. Net income was $152 million, or $1.06 a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $175 million, or $1.13 a share, a year before, the avionics supplier said.
RAPID CITY, S.D.-- A Texas- based pipe maker has started construction on a manufacturing plant in Rapid City, South Dakota. WL Plastics Director Mike Dahl says the South Dakota plant will help supply North Dakota's oil industry. WL Plastics also has facilities in Texas, Kentucky, Utah, Wyoming and the Canadian province of Alberta, Canada.
NEW YORK-- DECISION TIME: Oshkosh Corp. rejected a buyout offer Friday from billionaire investor Carl Icahn Friday. QUARTERLY RESULTS: Oshkosh also reported fiscal fourth-quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 65 cents per share on revenue of $2.06 billion.
LANSING, Mich.-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture says further disaster designations have been issued for Michigan's Bay and Saginaw counties due to heavy August rains. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced the determination, which follows heavy rains Aug. 4 through Aug. 22.
NEW YORK-- Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on Safeway Inc. to negative on Friday, citing the supermarket chain's weak sales and shrinking market share. The rating agency kept its "BBB-" long-term issuer default rating on Safeway, the country's second-largest traditional grocery chain.
LANSING, Mich.-- Michigan utility regulators say residential heating bills for natural gas users are expected to be slightly higher this winter due to likely increased consumption. The Michigan Public Service Commission released its winter energy appraisal Friday.
The price of oil is down slightly as the market eyes a massive storm heading for the East Coast with the potential to force refinery closures and delays in import deliveries. Benchmark oil fell 9 cents to $85.96 per barrel Friday.
Oct 26- Merck& Co Inc reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit, as a favorable tax rate and lower merger costs helped offset plunging sales of asthma drug Singulair, its former flagship product that began facing cheaper generics in August.
WASHINGTON-- The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Teva Pharmaceutical's drug Synribo to treat patients with a type of blood and bone marrow cancer. An estimated 5,430 people will be diagnosed with the cancer this year, according to the National Institutes of Health.
LONDON, Oct 26- World shares and commodities fell as lacklustre corporate earnings reports undermined investor confidence before the release of American growth data due out later on Friday.