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  • BATON ROUGE, La.-- Louisiana accountants have asked the Department of Revenue for more guidance on who is eligible for the state's alternative fuel vehicle tax credit, as Gov.

  • TINY INCREASE: The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose in September to a reading of 99.5. That's up from August's reading of 99.2 but below a two-year high of 101.9 reached in July.

  • LONDON, Oct 25- Reassuring updates from drugmaker Sanofi and consumer goods group Unilever lifted European shares on Thursday, although some traders felt worries over the euro zone would limit further moves higher.

  • CARSON CITY, Nev.-- Taxable sales in Nevada jumped 7.6 percent in August over the same month a year ago, with strong gains reported in several sectors including sales of cars and durable goods.

  • APPLICATIONS FALL: Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The drop came after the figures were distorted for two weeks by technical problems.

  • Oct 25- ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street estimates as they produced more oil and gas than expected, even as lower prices hurt profits. Conoco had record output in the Eagle Ford basin in south Texas, while Occidental saw strong production of higher-priced crude oil in the Permian Basin.

  • GERMANY: POLITICS: Oct. 29, DUBLIN- German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble meets his Irish counterpart Tony Noonan. EUROPEAN UNION: Nov. 12- Meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels, expected to discuss the situation in Greece, as well as in Spain. Nov. 13- Meeting of all EU finance ministers in Brussels.

  • United Airlines knows it needs to get back on its customers' good side. And parent company United Continental Holdings Inc. reported just $6 million in net income for the quarter. CEO Jeff Smisek said he knows that some regular customers went elsewhere, and that the airline is working to win them back.

  • NEW YORK-- Shares of F5 Networks Inc. sank Thursday after the company's forecast for the current quarter disappointed, and the company said the slower economy is weighing on its customers.

  • *Q3 EPS, excluding items, $1.29, vs. Oct 25- Celgene Corp's quarterly earnings rose 14 percent, beating expectations on strong sales of its Revlimid cancer treatment and lower costs, but investors were more focused on ongoing studies of its promising new medicines and wider uses for Revlimid. Excluding special items, Celgene earned $1.29 per share.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 25- Microsoft Corp launches its new Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet in New York Thursday, hoping to revive interest in its flagship product and regain ground lost to Apple Inc and Google Inc in mobile computing.

  • A couple large employers, Sears Holding Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc., are switching to this approach, and benefits experts say many others are considering it. On Thursday, Credit Suisse analyst Ralph Giacobbe asked Aetna officials during a conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings what they thought of it.

  • Benchmark oil gained 32 cents to finish at $86.05 a barrel in New York. Brent crude added 64 cents to end at $108.49 a barrel in London. Any reading above that could spark a rise in oil to the $87- $88 a barrel level, said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.

  • WASHINGTON-- Companies are holding off on purchases of computers, industrial equipment and other long-lasting manufactured goods, a trend that's slowing the U.S. economy. A fourth straight month of lackluster corporate spending led many economists on Thursday to trim their forecasts for growth in the July-September quarter.

  • Wheat was down 0.5 percent, erasing earlier gains due to a lack of buying interest following Wednesday's nearly 2 percent price rally in response to news Ukraine would ban wheat exports from Nov. 15.

  • *CME sees big interest from U.S. commercial sector. LONDON, Oct 25- CME Group expects to see the first trades in its new aluminium swap futures contract by the end of this year as it taps consumer frustration with having to pay steep surcharges to get metal in the midst of a glut, the exchange's head of metals said.

  • Copper for December delivery dropped 1.75 cents Thursday to finish at $3.5505 per pound. The National Association of Realtors said the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose slightly in September. In addition, the Commerce Department said orders for durable goods jumped 9.9 percent last month, driven by a hefty increase in aircraft orders.

  • Oct 25- The New York Times Co reported worse-than-expected results on Thursday as advertisers cut spending on both print and digital outlets, sending shares down 12 percent. Adjusting for severance costs and other special items, the company reported a quarterly loss of 1 cent per share, well below expectations of earnings of 8 cents per share.

  • NEW YORK-- A weak showing in home sales and a mixed batch of earnings reports kept the stock market flipping between minor gains and losses on Wall Street.

  • JOHANNESBURG, Oct 25- About 100,000 workers have downed tools for better pay in South Africa since August. In October around 15,000 were sacked and thousands returned to work after threats of dismissal.