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  • WASHINGTON-- The White House is going to great lengths to discourage defense contractors from sending layoff warnings to employees in the days before the presidential election, an effort Republicans are denouncing as politically motivated.

  • Claire McCaskill touted a $5.8 million fundraising haul for her re-election campaign Wednesday as Republican challenger Todd Akin sought to raise cash amid new attention to his remarks about abortion.

  • September sales rose 3.9 percent _ a slowdown from the 6- percent rise in August _ as 22 retailers like Macy's and Costco reported mixed results, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. "This should set up to be a good holiday season," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics LLC, a research firm.

  • Dow futures are up 46 points to 13,472. The broader S&P 500 futures are up 6 points to 1,451. Nasdaq futures are up 13 points to 2,821.. Investors are also awaiting news from the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

  • Target says a key revenue figure rose 2.1 percent in September as shoppers picked up back-to-school items and groceries. Total sales for the five weeks ended Sept. 29 rose 2.6 percent to $6.08 billion. Minneapolis- based Target expects October revenue in stores open at least one year to rise in the mid- to low-single digit percentage range.

  • BERLIN-- Daimler AG says its main Mercedes-Benz brand saw global sales grow 2 percent in year-on-year terms in September as growth in the U.S. and Asia offset a decline in western Europe. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region were up 7.8 percent to 30,992, led by growth of 18 percent in Japan and 10 percent in China.

  • "Resident Evil" is a zombie. Once one of the most respected and beloved video-game franchises, it's now a shell of its former self.

  • NEW YORK-- Thousands of teenagers who can't take their cellphones to school have another option, courtesy of a burgeoning industry of sorts in always-enterprising New York City: paying a dollar a day to leave it in a truck that's parked nearby.

  • NEW YORK-- Facebook has topped 1 billion users, but the past few months have not been easy. Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Thursday to announce that the social networking site has more than 1 billion active users each month. He thanked users and said that he is committed to making Facebook better.

  • FRANKFURT, Germany-- The European Central Bank has left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent, holding off on providing further stimulus to the lagging economies of the 17 countries that use the euro currency. The Bank of England also kept its key interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.5 percent.

  • KEARNEY, Neb.-- Buckle's September revenue at stores open at least a year dipped 0.8 percent, missing Wall Street's expectations. Analysts predicted a 1 percent increase in the figure, according to a Thomson Reuters poll. Buckle Inc., a teen retailer, said Thursday that total revenue for the five weeks ended Sept. 29 climbed 0.8 percent to $99.1 million.

  • LONDON-- The Bank of England has held its key lending rate at the all-time low of 0.5 percent for the 44th month and decided not to increase its economic stimulus program of bond purchases. Thursday's announcement by the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee was widely expected.

  • BRUSSELS-- EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Thursday the cost of necessary improvements at the 145 nuclear reactors in the European Union could be as high as 25 billion over the coming years.

  • TEHRAN, Iran-- Iran deployed riot police at key Tehran intersections on Thursday, after tensions flared over the nation's plunging currency in the most widespread display of anger linked to the country's sanctions-hit economy.

  • FRANKFURT, Germany-- The European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will likely face questions about a new bond-buying plan Thursday, when he holds a press conference after a monthly policy meeting.