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  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, according government data on Thursday that suggested a mild improvement in the labor market. OMER ESINER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, COMMONWEALTH FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WASHINGTON.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stock index futures held their early gains after weekly initial jobless claims rose a tad less than expected last week to 367,000, compared with analysts' estimates for 370,000 claims.

  • 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.

  • Oct 4- Social media company Facebook Inc said on Thursday it reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month, and is up by 45 mi llion us ers since June. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, hit the 1 billion milestone on Sept. 14 at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time, the company said on its website.

  • Oct 4- U.S. Labor Department report of initial state jobless benefit claims, seasonally adjusted. Initial Claims: Sept. 22 from 359,000. Mississippi 3,314 Ohio 1,975 Michigan 1,179.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- Lenders seized fewer U.S. homes in August, in part due to the rising popularity of alternatives to foreclosure, data analysis firm CoreLogic said on Thursday. There were 57,000 foreclosures completed in August, down from 58,000 in July and 75,000 a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

  • 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.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- Gap Inc:.

  • 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.

  • Oct 4- Social media company Facebook Inc said on Thursday it reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month, and is up more than 50 million users since June. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, hit the 1 billion milestone on Sept. 14 at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time, the company said on its website.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- CollabRx Inc:.

  • 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, Oct 4- Informatica Corp:.

  • *Morgan Stanley in commodities talks with Qatar for a year. DUBAI/ LONDON, Oct 4- Morgan Stanley's talks with Qatar's sovereign wealth fund over the sale of its commodities business have run into difficulty, and the deal may need to be reworked if it is to go ahead, banking sources said.

  • 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.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- PwC, the world's largest accounting firm, reported a record $31.5 billion in revenues in 2012 and forecast a big shift in business to developing markets in the next five years. North America and the Caribbean reported $11.2 billion in revenues, up from $9.9 billion.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, ahead of a central bank decision in Europe and the release of U.S. data on the labor and manufacturing sectors.

  • Oct 4- Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday the social media company reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month. At the end of June, Facebook had 955 million active monthly users.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms in September rose 4.9 percent after hitting a 20- month low in August, a report on Thursday showed. Employers announced planned job cuts of 33,816 last month, up from 32,239 in August, according to the report from consultants C hallenger, Gray& Christmas, Inc..

  • *Sales from Costco, Limited, Zumiez top expectations. Retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp and Victoria's Secret operator Limited Brands Inc posted bigger-than-expected gains in September sales at stores open at least a year.