WASHINGTON, Oct 1- Growth in U.S. factory activity slowed more than expected in September even as private sector job growth accelerated, signs of an uneven expansion in the U.S. economy. The Institute for Supply Management said on Wednesday its index of national factory activity dropped to 56.6 last month, its lowest level since June.» Read More
LONDON, Oct 25- German government bonds slipped on Thursday, pulled down by falls in UK gilts after data showed Britain rebounded strongly from recession in the third quarter.
NEW YORK, Oct 25- The outcome of a court hearing set to begin on Thursday will determine whether a major regional healthcare system in Pennsylvania is driven into bankruptcy or will be allowed to seek other suitors after a $475 million merger deal with insurer Highmark Inc crumbled.
NEW YORK, Oct 25- U.S. consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets next year to pay for costlier healthcare, more expensive grocery bills and higher taxes, an extra drag on the country's already slow-moving economy.
Andrew Cuomo said state government will put the promotion of beer, wine and liquor made in New York "on steroids" to boost jobs and help the small, yet growing industries. They include promoting New York wine, beer, whisky and brandy at the State Fair.
The so-called troika says in a statement Thursday that "Policy implementation remains steadfast despite the challenging external environment, helping Ireland to start to regain market access." The troika is composed of the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission, which is the executive arm of the EU.
*Eyes on next week's Bank of Japan policy meeting. Spot gold was up 0.8 percent at $1,714.36 an ounce at 1034 GMT, bouncing off Wednesday's seven-week low of $1,698.39, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up $14.90 an ounce at $1,716.50.
RATES TICK UP: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose slightly this week and continued to hover near record lows. THE NUMBERS: The average rate on the 30- year mortgage edged up to 3.41 percent. Three weeks ago, the rate touched a record low 3.36 percent.
NEW YORK-- Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. hit a 15- month high Thursday after it reported third-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street's expectations. The Miami company earned $367.8 million, or $1.68 per share, compared with $399 million, or $1.82 per share, a year earlier. Royal Caribbean said it saw strong last-minute bookings and the third quarter.
*$139 billion in dry powder in Asia, $130 bln new funds being raised-Preqin. Kravis, who co-founded KKR& Co LP in 1976 with his cousin George Roberts and colleague Jerry Kohlberg, was in Singapore to open the firm's new office there- its seventh in Asia since entering the region in 2005..
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas in storage grew 67 billion cubic feet to 3.843 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Oct. 19. Analysts expected a rise of 63 billion to 67 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
LOS ANGELES-- Occidental Petroleum saw third-quarter profit fall 22 percent as an increase in production was offset by lower oil and natural gas prices. Occidental reported net income of $1.38 billion, or $1.69 per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30.
The company also raised its 2012 outlook on Thursday to the top end of its previous forecast of $5.00 to $5.10 a share. The company said third-quarter earnings had risen to $499.2 million, or $1.47 per share, from $490.4 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.-- Agribusiness and food company Bunge Ltd.' s third-quarter net income more than doubled as revenue rose on strength in its agribusiness division. Bunge said Thursday that crop supplies need to approach record levels to rebuild stocks. For the period ended Sept. 30, earnings rose to $289 million, or $1.92 per share.
WASHINGTON-- Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. helped write and edit medical journal articles attributed to outside physicians, which downplayed the risks of the company's best-selling bone graft, according to a report by Senate investigators.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-- South Dakota's largest city is welcoming political figures, family and friends in town to mark the life and career of former Democratic U.S. senator and three-time presidential candidate George McGovern, a legend in state's political history who died Sunday at age 90..
LONDON-- UK police say officers have identified 300 potential victims of the late Jimmy Savile, the disgraced BBC entertainer now believed to be a predatory pedophile. The BBC has been rocked by allegations that Savile sexually abused underage teens over several decades, sometimes on BBC premises.
NEW YORK-- Hershey reported a 10 percent drop in third-quarter net income as one-time charges led to the first such decline in four quarters, but it raised its profit outlook for whole year. The maker of Reese's Pieces, Hershey's Kisses and Jolly Ranchers earned $176.7 million, or 77 cents per share in the three-month period ended Sept. 30.
South Africa's Chamber of Mines, representing mine owners, announced Thursday that it had agreed with the National Union of Mineworkers to raise gold miners' monthly salaries by up to 500 rand, in addition to a pay raise of up to 10 percent that miners got in July, weeks before wildcat strikes hit South Africa's platinum and gold mines.