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  • Rising tensions between Syria and Turkey also contributed to higher prices, the geopolitical risk highlighting concerns about Middle East oil supplies. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was up 62 cents to $88.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 4- Republican Mitt Romney, seeking to counter his image as a billionaire friend of finance, stressed he wanted regulation of banks but blasted President Barack Obama for pursuing excessive reforms that he said were stifling the economy. You can't have a free market work without regulation, "said Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

  • Barclays announced a shake up at its investment banking business aimed at streamlining the business in the face of a more challenging outlook for the industry. Wells Fargo's international group named Christopher Lewis as executive vice-president and head of global trade services.

  • Oct 4- Liquid Nutrition Group Inc:. *Appoints evan brown as new chief financial officer. *Most recently, brown served as assistant controller of York capital.

  • Oct 4- Pfizer Inc said a late-stage trial of its vaccine to protect against pneumococcal bacteria suggested it would also work in adults aged 18-49, thereby possibly expanding its sales.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- Sprint Nextel Corp is weighing a potential rival bid for MetroPCS Communications Inc, which agreed on Wednesday to a merger with Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA, according to sources familiar with the situation. Sprint Nextel could also wait until the MetroPCS-T-Mobile deal is complete before making a move, one of the sources said.

  • NEW YORK-- An encouraging report on the labor market and better sales from Costco and other retail stores helped push the stock market higher Thursday. Aluminum giant Alcoa led the 30 stocks in the Dow with a 3.3 percent surge, rising 29 cents to $9.07.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- Brent and U.S. crude futures rose more than $2 on Thursday as the turmoil in Syria reinforced fears about supply disruptions, and with the dollar weakening and Wall Street higher after European Central Bank's chief remarks encouraged hopes the euro zone debt crisis is being addressed.

  • NEW YORK-- BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday it will merge with ANI Pharmaceuticals in an all-stock deal worth about $94 million. BioSante valued the deal at $93 million to $95 million based on its current share price, according to a company spokesman.

  • *Barclays investment bank boss Ricci unveils management shake-up- memo. LONDON, Oct 4- Barclays announced a shake up at its investment bank on Thursday as the group tries to cut costs in a tough market and reduce risks to its reputation following the Libor scandal.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 4- Republican hopeful Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama praised the deficit-cutting plan known as Simpson-Bowles at their debate on Wednesday, but neither has made the politically painful choices put forward by that scheme.

  • *Coming up: Baker Hughes rig data, CFTC trade data Friday. NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. natural gas futures traded slightly lower on Thursday, pressured by milder mid-month weather forecasts and a government report showing a weekly inventory build well above market expectations.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 4- Republican hopeful Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama praised the deficit-cutting plan known as Simpson-Bowles at their debate on Wednesday, but neither has made the politically painful choices put forward by that scheme.

  • NEW YORK-- Christie's will inaugurate its long-term partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation to sell its collection with a daylong sale next month. It includes a Polacolor print of Liza Minelli estimated to sell for $15,000- $20,000. There's also a screenprint of Vladimir Lenin with a pre-sale estimate of $40,000- $60,000.

  • *Demand for strip mall space drops in third quarter. NEW YORK, Oct 4- The nascent recovery at U.S. strip malls stalled in the third quarter as retail sales struggled. But large regional malls continued to rebound, driven by top-quality malls with high-end department and specialty stores, real estate research firm Reis Inc said Thursday.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- Exchange-traded funds are waging a price war that may save investors money on fees, but cheaper fund choices pose a greater risk because they may rely on new, more-opaque indexes.

  • Oct 3- American Airlines and its pilots union resumed contract talks Wednesday, but other problems continued to beset the bankrupt carrier. "I will never ride on American Airlines ever again," said Tony Palm, who was stranded when a connecting flight on American from Chicago to New York's LaGuardia airport was canceled last month.

  • SINGAPORE, Oct 4- Singapore will allow companies to issue different classes of shares, its Finance Ministry said, a move that may in time help its stock exchange win new listings.

  • SINGAPORE, Oct 3- Danish oil and shipping group A.P. Moller Maersk says it will talk to Vitol to determine whether one of its tankers was used by the trading house to ship Iranian fuel oil. The cargo was transferred aboard the Danish tanker from Vitol's floating storage off Malaysia, the document shows, and shipped to storage in Singapore.

  • MELBOURNE, Oct 4- Australian shares were up 0.2 percent on Thursday as banks rose while miners fell, with sentiment dented by soft retail sales figures for August and declines in oil and copper prices. Top banks continued this week's post rate-cut gains, led by a 1.2 percent rise in Westpac Banking Corp.