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NEW YORK-- Stocks are ending the day close to break-even despite some good news on jobs. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 339,000. That's the lowest in more than four years. Economists also look at the four-week average, and that hit a six-month low.
MINNEAPOLIS-- Despite the drought that parched much of the rest of the country, 2012 is shaping up as a pleasant surprise for many Minnesota farmers who are expected to harvest record corn and sugarbeet crops. "It went better than we thought it would _ by a long ways _ that's for sure," southwestern Minnesota corn and soybean farmer Scott Johnson said with a laugh.
HARTFORD, Conn.-- Outrage over unauthorized pay raises for Connecticut education staff members deepened Thursday with the state House Republican leader calling for the Board of Regents president to step down and the Democratic governor saying credibility must be restored "as quickly as possible."
DALLAS-- Just weeks ago, American Airlines was working its way through bankruptcy court, on schedule for one of the fastest turnarounds in aviation history. Then seemingly overnight, American became the butt of jokes from Facebook to late-night TV. "American Airlines has a new slogan," Jay Leno joked on NBC's "The Tonight Show."
INDIANAPOLIS-- The Indiana State Fair is canceling paid concerts at next year's fair after shows moved to downtown Indianapolis following a deadly 2011 stage rigging collapse failed to attract big crowds during August's fair.
SAN FRANCISCO-- Victims of the deadly San Bruno gas pipeline blast urged California regulators Thursday to continue public hearings that will determine the amount of fines levied against Pacific Gas& Electric Co, the pipeline's owner.
NEW YORK-- Shares of orthopedic implant makers mostly traded higher Thursday, but analysts said industry bellwether Biomet's earnings are cause for concern.
All of the companies _ Realogy, the owner of realty firms Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Corcoran Group; online stock photo provider Shutterstock; Kythera, a developer of shots to treat double chins; and Intercept Pharmaceuticals, which develops drugs for liver diseases _ garnered strong demand from investors.
POPPING CORN: Corn jumped 5 percent after the government predicted that the U.S. harvest will produce about 10.7 billion bushels, which would be the smallest in six years. SUPPLY QUESTIONS: Oil rose on questions about whether supplies from the Middle East could be disrupted by tensions between Turkey and Syria.
Corn for December delivery rose 36.5 cents to finish at $7.7325 per bushel. The U.S. Agriculture Department predicted that the corn harvest would total about 10.7 billion bushels, which would be the smallest since 2006. The yield was forecast at an average of 122 bushels per acre, which would be the lowest since 1995..
APPLICATIONS TUMBLE: The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000. It was the lowest level in more than four years. VOLATILE WEEK: A Labor Department spokesman cautioned that weekly applications can be volatile at the start of the quarter and one large state accounted for much of the decline.
BOISE, Idaho-- Foes of proposed education reforms in Idaho easily outraised those promoting the measures ahead of a Nov. 6 vote that will determine if the changes survive. The group Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, 3 added $1.3 million through Sept. 30, compared with just $164,857 for the group Yes for Education, according to the Idaho secretary of state's office.
LOS ANGELES-- A federal judge in Los Angeles has awarded $6.6 million to several music publishers in a copyright lawsuit over lyrics from such songs as David Bowie's "China Girl" being posted online without a license.
The Labor Department said Thursday that claims fell to 339,000 last week, the lowest since February 2008. The euro rose to $1.2929 late Thursday from $1.2897 late Wednesday. The dollar fell to 0.9347 Swiss franc from 0.9385 Swiss franc and to 97.89 Canadian cents from 98.08 Canadian cents.
SEEKS CONTROL: Billionaire investor Carl Icahn plans to make an unsolicited bid for truck maker Oshkosh Corp. that values the company at almost $3 billion. Icahn also plans to nominate his own slate of directors in a bid for control of the company.
SAN JOSE, Calif.-- A federal appeals court has sided with Samsung Electronics Corp. in one aspect of its ongoing patent dispute with Apple Inc.. The Washington, D.C.- based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday overturned a judge's order blocking Samsung from selling its Galaxy Nexus smart phone pending a patent lawsuit by Apple.
Penn National Gaming Inc. said on Thursday it was seeking to build an $807 million resort casino and hotel on a parcel that is now home to a newspaper and a bus terminal.
WILMINGTON, Del.-- The plant manager of the Delaware City refinery is not ruling out a future expansion of operations at the facility. PBF Energy, which purchased the shuttered refinery from Valero Corp. in 2010 for $220 million, said earlier this year that it was putting plans for a $1 billion expansion project on hold.