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Top News & Analysis United States

  • MIAMI-- Three female Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees have filed a lawsuit in South Florida claiming the retail giant discriminates against women in areas such as wages and promotion opportunities.

  • 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.

  • --U.S. emergency transport services provider Rural/Metro announced very weak EBITDA for the June 2012 quarter, well below our expectations, driven by a significant charge for uncollectible receivables. --Cash flow is also negative for fiscal-year 2012, whereas we had been expecting modest positive cash flow.

  • 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.

  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- While New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleges massive fraud in mortgage-backed securities in a lawsuit filed this week, he's not criminally prosecuting anyone. The civil suit claims misconduct by Bear Stearns& Co. in 2006-2007 cost investors $22.5 billion in losses and left them holding an additional $30 billion in bad loans.

  • They join returnees Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Randy Newman, Donna Summer and Kraftwerk among the 15 artists vying for entry.

  • HOUSTON-- Exploration and development company ZaZa Energy Corp. said Thursday it may sell its French assets. ZaZa Energy said it makes no assurances that the sale will be completed. Its shares lost 5 cents to $2.70 in midday trading after dropping as low as $2.65 earlier in the session, their lowest level since August 2011.

  • 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.

  • LOS ANGELES-- As far as Tim Burton's concerned, you can't keep a good dog down. And you can't keep a good, old-fashioned form of animation down, either.

  • *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.

  • WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp. said Thursday that it has reached an agreement with an Asian retail operator to develop 15 franchised stores in Singapore over the next five years. The doughnut chain is working with Star360 Group to develop the stores.

  • 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.

  • Robert Bentley said in a statement Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the request. Bentley had sent a letter to FEMA saying the five counties-- Covington, Dallas, Geneva, Monroe and Perry-- suffered $2.5 million in damage. Baldwin, Mobile and Pickens counties had previously been approved for aid.

  • has started drilling a well in the Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska, making good on exploration plans that had been stalled by floating ice, technical delays and problems with meeting oil spill-preparation requirements.

  • CHARLESTON, S.C.-- A federal judge has transferred a court challenge to South Carolina's planned $35 million cruise terminal to Charleston from Washington, D.C., ruling the controversy is largely a local issue.