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  • Earnings roundup: Halliburton, Abbott Labs Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 3:17 PM ET

    Among the earnings stories for Wednesday, Oct. 17, from The Associated Press:. _ Halliburton Co. said a decline in revenue in its core North America market was largely responsible for a 12 percent decline in third-quarter profit.

  • Syria's wealthy businesses feel civil war squeeze Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 3:17 PM ET

    CAIRO-- Syria's wealthy, long cultivated by President Bashar Assad as a support for his regime, are seeing their businesses pummeled by the bloody civil war. Assad may not have lost the backing of Syria's business elite, but some are losing faith.

  • Parker Hannifin to buy Sea Recovery, no terms Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 3:10 PM ET

    CLEVELAND-- Parker Hannifin Corp., which makes industrial hoses, airplane wheels and other products, said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Sea Recovery from Denmark's Danfoss A/S. Cleveland- based Parker Hannifin will assume ownership of the business on Nov. 1. Parker Hannifin shares rose $1.85, or 2.3 percent, to $83.82 in afternoon trading Wednesday.

  • Movers roundup: Apollo Group, Cree Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:58 PM ET

    Among the stock activity stories for Wednesday, Oct. 17, from The Associated Press:. _ Apollo Group Inc.' s shares plunged after the for-profit education company reported a disastrous fourth-quarter and announced plans to close many of its University of Phoenix schools.

  • Comptroller: Texas Rainy Day Fund climbs to $8.1B Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:55 PM ET

    AUSTIN, Texas-- As another budget-slashing session in the Texas Legislature potentially looms, aides to the state's chief accountant told lawmakers Wednesday that the Rainy Day Fund is about to be stocked with $8.1 billion and could climb higher next year.

  • United Rental shares rise on strong 3Q profit Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:54 PM ET

    THE SPARK: Late Tuesday, United Rentals reported net income of $73 million, or 70 cents per share, compared with $65 million, or 91 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2011. Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of $1.35 per share.

  • Abbott Labs 3Q net income rises; lays off 550 Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:48 PM ET

    WASHINGTON-- Drug and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories reported a higher third-quarter profit Wednesday, edging past analyst expectations, even as revenue slipped. Spokeswoman Adelle Infante said that the layoffs were in Abbott's nutrition, medical devices, established pharmaceuticals and molecular diagnostics divisions.

  • Centene stock jumps as insurer vows Kentucky exit Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:45 PM ET

    Shares of Centene Corp. soared Wednesday after the health insurer said it will end a contract to administer Medicaid coverage in Kentucky that had hampered its performance. A Centene official said in a brief statement that they "do not believe there is a viable path to a sustainable managed care program in Kentucky."

  • Fla. man charged in NY dinosaur fossils case Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:34 PM ET

    MIAMI-- A Florida man was charged Wednesday with smuggling dinosaur fossils into the United States, including a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton from Mongolia, federal prosecutors said.

  • French firm: 7 sailors kidnapped off Nigeria coast Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:34 PM ET

    LAGOS, Nigeria-- Gunmen attacked a ship operated by a French oil and gas services company off the coast of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, kidnapping six Russian sailors and an Estonian in the assault, the firm said Wednesday.

  • Legal path to US from Cuba still complicated Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:33 PM ET

    WASHINGTON-- Cuba's surprise decision to make it easier for citizens to leave the country doesn't mean Cubans can book tickets on commercial planes and head for Miami. "This may end up being ado about nothing," said a Cuban-immigration expert, Jose Azel of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

  • Dean Foods to raise up to $320M in WhiteWave IPO Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:32 PM ET

    DALLAS-- Dean Foods Co.' s subsidiary WhiteWave plans to raise up to $368 million in its initial public offering. The company, which sells Silk Soymilk and International Delight Creamers, will offer 20 million shares for between $14 and $16 per share, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

  • WHO: TB numbers drop to 8.7 million new cases Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:31 PM ET

    LONDON-- The number of people who caught tuberculosis last year inched downward according to an estimate by the World Health Organization, but the agency warned that drug-resistant strains are still spreading.

  • Dollar weakens on strong US economic reports Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:30 PM ET

    Moody's decision to forgo downgrading Spain's government debt rating also made traders more comfortable owning the euro. The euro rose to $1.3127 from $1.3043 late Tuesday and the British pound rose to $1.6154 from $1.6113. The dollar fell to 97.78 Canadian cents from 98.71 Canadian cents and to 0.9219 Swiss francs from 0.9270 Swiss franc.

  • McDonald's 3Q should indicate economic pressures Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:26 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- McDonald's Corp. reports its third-quarter results Friday, which should give a glimpse of how the world's biggest hamburger chain is coping with intensifying competition and the challenging global economy. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: After outperforming its rivals for years, some analyst think McDonald's may be entering a period of slower growth.

  • Diamondback Energy IPO is complete Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 2:10 PM ET

    MIDLAND, Texas-- Diamondback Energy said Wednesday that completed an initial public offering of 12.5 million shares. It raised $218.8 million in the IPO, which was priced at $17.50 apiece. Diamondback Energy Inc. had projected a price of $17 to $19 per share.

  • News Summary: SEC proposes rules for derivatives Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 1:55 PM ET

    MINIMUM CAPITAL: U.S. regulators proposed setting minimum capital levels that banks and other firms that trade derivatives must hold as a cushion against risk.

  • Earnings preview: GE resurgence to continue in 3Q Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 1:54 PM ET

    NEW YORK-- General Electric is expected to show progress on its plan to cut costs and focus on its roots as a manufacturer when it reports earnings for the third quarter on Friday. At the same time GE has worked to reduce its non-industrial assets by selling NBC, shrinking its banking division and selling commercial real estate holdings.

  • Uruguay Senate legalizes abortion Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 1:46 PM ET

    MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay-- The Uruguayan Senate voted 17-14 on Wednesday to legalize all first trimester abortions in a groundbreaking step in Latin America. The Senate had already approved a more liberal version of the proposed law, but concessions made to gain the votes of more socially conservative members of Uruguay's lower house forced a second vote.

  • Exxon buys Celtic Exploration for $2.6B Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 | 1:45 PM ET

    CALGARY, Alberta-- A Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil is acquiring the oil and gas exploration firm Celtic Exploration Ltd. for $2.63 billion. ExxonMobil Canada gets access to 649,000 acres in two shale formations, the Montney and Duvernay, as well as additional acreage in other parts of Alberta, the company said.