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  • BANGKOK-- Asian stock markets rose Thursday after an unexpectedly strong U.S. housing report renewed confidence in the world's biggest economy and enabled investors to overlook slower growth in China. The U.S. Commerce Department said builders started construction on new single-family houses and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years.

  • DENVER-- Denver police said they have no suspects in the killings of five people whose bodies were found at a neighborhood bar after it was set on fire early Wednesday, apparently to cover up the slayings. The Denver medical examiner said the victims included Young Fero of the Denver suburb of Aurora.

  • BEIJING-- China's economic growth tumbled to the lowest in more than three years in the latest quarter but retail sales and investment improved in a possible sign a painful slump might be stabilizing.

  • WELLINGTON, New Zealand-- Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group on Thursday announced it is poised to complete a takeover bid for the small but well-regarded New Zealand manufacturer Fisher& Paykel Appliances after sweetening an earlier offer. The move will allow Haier to gain a valued brand as well as technology pioneered by the New Zealand company.

  • EDMONTON, Alberta-- A subsidiary of a Brazilian-based company is taking over management of XL Foods, the Alberta plant at the heart of one of the largest beef recalls in Canada's history.

  • STILL GROWING: EBay Inc.' s net income grew 22 percent in the third quarter thanks to higher revenue at its PayPal payments service and the marketplaces business that includes eBay.com. 2012 OUTLOOK HIGHER: EBay raised its full-year guidance slightly and CEO John Donahoe expressed cautious optimism about the upcoming holiday shopping season.

  • THE RESULTS: American Express' net income rose 1 percent in the third quarter to $1.25 billion, or $1.09 per share. That compares with net income of $1.24 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the same quarter last year. BAD LOANS: American Express' delinquency rate was flat compared to the second quarter.

  • The ruling means that DC Comics and its owner Warner Bros. will retain all rights to continue using the character in books, films, television and other mediums, including a the film reboot planned for next year.

  • American Express Co. launched a digital payments platform last year aimed at competing with bank debit cards and other prepaid cards. The program, dubbed Serve, allows customers to open an online prepaid account that can be funded using a bank account, an American Express card or another credit card.

  • NEW YORK-- Align Technology Inc., which makes the Invisalign clear braces system, slumped Wednesday after the company gave disappointing estimates for its third-quarter results and offered a weak fourth-quarter forecast. Align Technology shares skidded $7.05, or 20 percent, to $28.36 in aftermarket trading following the announcement.

  • NEW YORK-- An opera-loving philanthropist convicted in New York of a multimillion-dollar fraud has been freed on bail to await the outcome of his appeal. Alberto Vilar was freed Wednesday on $10 million bail from a federal lockup in Fort Dix, N.J. He'll be required to wear an electronic bracelet, as he was before his November 2008 conviction.

  • NEW YORK-- A Bangladeshi man who came to the United States to wage jihad was arrested in an elaborate FBI sting on Wednesday after attempting to blow up a fake car bomb outside the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan, authorities said.

  • District Judge Jed Rakoff, who this year presided over the trial in which Rajat Gupta was convicted. Gupta, a 63- year-old former board member for Goldman and Procter& Gamble Co., faces sentencing Oct. 24.

  • ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- The eastern New Mexico town of Portales is preparing for its 39th annual peanut festival this weekend. But the festivities may be overshadowed by anxiety over the shuttering of a local plant at the heart of a national peanut butter recall.

  • This is a look at companies that have re-examined their relationship with the cyclist in light of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's decision to ban him for life from the sport based on evidence he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France:.

  • In exchange for operating as the state's so-called insurer of last resort _ meaning it must provide insurance coverage regardless of a customer's health status _ Blue Cross has been exempt from paying several local and state taxes.

  • NEW YORK-- New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the 21- year-old arrested on charges that he plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan came to the U.S. on a student visa. Authorities tracked him using Facebook and other social media, but the account was taken down Wednesday.

  • WELLINGTON, New Zealand-- The New Zealand stock market has suspended trading in shares of Fisher& Paykel Appliances pending an announcement. The home appliance company has been the target of a $704 million takeover bid by Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group, which already owns 20 percent of the company.

  • PAYING MORE FOR CHECKING: The average monthly service fee on checking accounts rose 25 percent from last year to a record $5.48, according to financial data publisher Bankrate. ATM fees rose 4 percent and overdraft fees rose 1.4 percent.

  • The average monthly service fee on checking accounts that don't pay interest is now a record $5.48, a 25 percent increase over last year, according to Bankrate, a financial data publisher. The fee for using an ATM outside a bank's network rose to $2.50, a 4 percent increase.