*Yen firmer as weak Tokyo shares weigh on risk sentiment. LONDON, April 1- The dollar fell back on Wednesday as a soft reading on Japanese business sentiment dented Tokyo shares but helped bolster the yen, while some improvement in Chinese data offered support to the Australian and New Zealand dollars. Greece's economy minister said the country should reach a...» Read More
MINNEAPOLIS-- Three companies submitted bids to explore and mine for copper, nickel and other metals in Minnesota's latest mineral rights auction, the Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday.
*UK Q3 GDP beats expectations; outlook good for China factories. *WPP, Daimler, France Telecom fall on earnings. LONDON, Oct 25- European shares rose on Thursday after China said factory output was set to accelerate and Britain's economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter.
COLUMBIA, S.C.-- The director of South Carolina's Medicaid agency warned legislators Wednesday that the numbers of already-eligible residents signing up for the government program through 2014 could exceed estimates, further eating into state revenue.
NEW YORK, Oct 25- U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 may rebound from its worst five-day slide in five months, on optimism China's economy may be recovering and ahead of a flurry of economic data and corporate earnings.
*Earnings of $1.55 per share beat analysts' estimate of $1.34. The third-largest U.S. health insurer also boosted its 2012 outlook on Thursday to the top end of its previous forecast range of $5.00 to $5.10 a share.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.-- Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., the Las Vegas casino company that bought and blew up the former Sands Casino Hotel to make way for a $2 billion casino that never got built, says it's close to selling the prime Boardwalk site where the project would have gone.
HOUSTON-- ConocoPhillips said Thursday that net income fell 30 percent in the third quarter as it sold assets and oil and natural gas prices fell. Houston- based ConocoPhillips made $1.8 billion, or $1.46 per share, compared with $2.6 billion, or $1.91 per share, a year earlier.
Deval Patrick's administration has unveiled a new plan for dealing with the mounting costs associated with the alleged mishandling of evidence at a state drug lab. The plan was announced by Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez after some agencies affected by the crisis missed a Wednesday deadline for submitting cost estimates.
*Ford to close Southampton plant, Dagenham stamping plant. LONDON/ BASILDON, England, Oct 25- Ford will stop making vans in Britain next year, with the potential loss of 2,000 jobs, as part of a plan by the U.S. car maker to drag its European operations back into profit.
HOUSTON-- Noble Energy, while wresting with falling natural gas prices and a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, topped Wall Street expectations for the third quarter. The Houston energy producer said Thursday that its net income totaled $221 million, or $1.23 per share, in the July-through-September quarter.
NEW YORK-- Procter& Gamble, the world's largest consumer products maker, said Thursday that its net income fell 7 percent on the stronger dollar and restructuring charges, but adjusted results met expectations.
WASHINGTON, Oct 25- Raytheon Co, maker of Patriot missiles, radar and other military equipment, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings despite a 1 percent drop in revenues, and raised its forecast for 2012 earnings.
SAO PAULO, Oct 25- Brazil's jobless rate rose slightly in September but continued near record lows, data showed on Thursday, reinforcing the view that Brazil's tight labor market remains well suited to support an economic recovery.
*Shares in Hong Kong more than halved this year. HONG KONG, Oct 25- ZTE Corp, the world's fourth-biggest maker of mobile phones and fifth-ranked telecommunications equipment manufacturer, reported a $310 million quarterly net loss, its first since listing in Hong Kong in 2004, on shredded margins, project delays and accounting changes in China.
*Large number of Brazil mills still open for crushing. LONDON, Oct 25- ICE raw sugar futures bounced off a three-week low on Thursday, although the upside was capped by fast progress in Brazil's harvest and surplus supplies, while coffee and cocoa also edged higher.
THIRD QUARTER: Health insurer Aetna Inc. said its third-quarter earnings rose 2 percent as lower-than-expected health care use and revenue gains helped the insurer trump Wall Street expectations. Aetna earned $499.2 million, or $1.47 per share.
Oct 25- Simon Property Group Inc reported an 18.8 percent increase in a key earnings measure on higher rents and sales at its malls and outlet centers, easily beating estimates, and the real estate investment trust raised its outlook for the year.
CHICAGO, Oct 25- CME Group Inc, the biggest operator of U.S. futures exchanges, reported a 30.5 percent decline in quarterly profit as investors bought and sold fewer futures and options. Net income fell to $218.9 million, or 66 cents a share, in the quarter, from $315 million, or 95 cents a share, a year earlier, CME said on Thursday.
BRUSSELS, Oct 25- Euro zone officials are expected to press ahead on Thursday with plans to give Athens two more years to meet its budget goals as well as examine ways of closing the yawning gap in Greece's finances.
Oct 25- Sprint Nextel Corp posted a wider loss in the third quarter as it spent heavily on a network upgrade and lost customers from its iDen network, which it is shutting down.