MUMBAI, May 24- Fewer auspicious days later this year compelled Ramesh Phalke, an auto company employee in India's Maharashtra state, to hold his daughter's wedding in May. Gold is an essential part of the bride's dowry in India and also a popular gift from family and guests at weddings. "Jewelry demand could drop by 30 percent in the second half due to fewer weddings,"...» Read More
A surprisingly strong housing report is pushing the stock market mostly higher even as weak earnings reports from Intel and IBM weighed on the Dow Jones industrial average. IBM's sales fell below Wall Street's expectations, and Intel warned that sales of personal computers will likely remain weak during the holiday season.
LESS STIMULATING: The likelihood that the Bank of England might approve more economic stimulus next month decreased on Wednesday as rate-setters disagreed on the program's effectiveness.
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay-- Senators in Uruguay were debating Wednesday whether to legalize abortion, a groundbreaking step in Latin America, by accepting a compromise measure that has frustrated both sides of the bitter abortion debate.
NEW YORK-- The shares of at least four homebuilders hit new highs and construction materials companies got a boost as well Wednesday from the release of a new report showing that U.S. builders started construction on homes in September at the fastest rate since July 2008, another sign of a recovering housing market.
LONDON-- A new London exhibition has brought together more than 100 Hollywood costumes, from Darth Vader's suit to the world's most famous ruby slippers.
LOS ANGELES-- Susan Sarandon reported for work on "Cloud Atlas" midway through the shoot, in time to see a collection of far-flung film scenes that the cast and crew were viewing.
DUNCAN, S.C.-- A company that makes fiber optic products is expanding its operations in South Carolina's Spartanburg County. AFL announced Wednesday that it would invest $8.6 million to expand its presence in Duncan, creating 95 new jobs.
ROGERS, Ark.-- A new $10 million plastics recycling facility is planned for Rogers, Ark. and the company says it will hire up to 350 workers. Nextlife Asset Recovery Services announced Wednesday that it will open a headquarters and processing plant and that it will supply several companies with resin that's used to manufacture new consumer plastic items.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-- A Providence- based start-up incubator said Wednesday it is partnering with two local universities and the business community in an effort to boost entrepreneurship in Rhode Island, where the economy continues to struggle.
ROCKVILLE, Md.-- Nabi Biopharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday that its anti-smoking vaccine NicVAX failed in another clinical trial, as a combination of NicVAX and Pfizer's smoking-cessation pill Chantix was no better than Chantix alone in helping patients quit. Nabi has been developing the drug through a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline PLC.
ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Medical device maker St. Jude Medical Inc. reported third-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat expectations, though company shares slumped as the executives warned that the company could receive a regulatory warning over a California manufacturing plant.
THE OFFER: ASML Holding NV, the Dutch chip-making equipment supplier, bid $2.55 billion for California company Cymer Inc.. THE ACQUIRER: ASML uses such beams in machines to trace out the circuits of computer chips. Its customers include Intel, Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, all of whom own stakes in ASML.
CHICAGO-- Grain prices rose Wednesday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for December delivery rose 3.25 cents to $8.51 per bushel; December corn gained 0.75 cent to $7.39 per bushel; December oats were unchanged at $3.9225 per bushel and November soybeans increased 4.25 cents to $14.98 per bushel.
COUNTING DOWN: The Spanish government will decide within the next few weeks whether to ask for outside financial help, noting it might opt for a precautionary line of credit instead of bailout cash.
NEW YORK-- CONTRACT ENDED: Nike Inc. said Wednesday that it is terminating Lance Armstrong's contract, citing insurmountable evidence that the cyclist participated in doping and misled the clothing and footwear company about those activities for more than a decade.
WALLINGFORD, Conn.-- Amphenol, which makes fiber optic cables, said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income climbed 10 percent, driven by strength across a variety of markets. For the three months ended Sept. 30, Amphenol earned $147.5 million, or 90 cents per share. Amphenol Corp. shares climbed $1.43, or 2.4 percent, to $61.60.
Bank of America, the country's second-biggest bank, reported Wednesday that mortgage originations jumped over a year ago _ up 18 percent to $21 billion. Bank of America's chief financial officer was ambiguous when asked whether the housing market had turned, as JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the country's two largest mortgage lenders, suggested last week.