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Top News & Analysis United States

  • Oct 4- Oil and gas company ZaZa Energy Corp. ZaZa Energy Corp's portfolio includes about 72,000 acres in the oil-rich Eagle Ford shale field and 90,000 acres in the Woodbine region, both in Texas. The Houston- based company ended its exploration and development agreements with Hess Corp in the Paris Basin and Eagle Ford shale field in June.

  • HOUSTON-- Calpine Corp. said Thursday that it will buy a natural gas-fired power plant in Texas for about $432 million to boost its presence in a state where the supply of surplus power is shrinking. Calpine is buying the 800- megawatt plant near Laguna Park in central Texas from Bosque Power Co. LLC.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- Consumer goods group Unilever Plc/ NV is looking at a possible sale of its Skippy peanut butter business based in the United States and Canada which could, if sold, fetch around $400 million.

  • Oct 4- Rupert Murdoch conceded defeat this week in his battle with Google and the Internet, an adversary even more powerful than the British government. Coincidentally, News Corp, Murdoch's holding company, announced the departure of its chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller.

  • VIENNA, Oct 4- Europe is unlikely to benefit soon from a coming golden age of natural gas as unconventional sources will not transform supply of the fuel and oil-linked contracts will keep its prices high, the head of the International Energy Agency said.

  • Oct 4- Shares of Berry Plastics Group Inc. The Evansville, Indiana- based company opened New York Stock Exchange trading at $15.25 after shares priced at the low end of the expected range at $16. It sold 29.4 million shares on Wednesday night, raising $470.4 million.

  • NEW YORK-- Stocks are opening mostly higher on Wall Street following an encouraging report on the labor market and better sales from retail chains. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35 points to 13,530 shortly after the opening bell Thursday.

  • SEATTLE-- Nordstrom Inc. said Thursday that sales in stores open at least one year rose 4.4 percent in September, slightly below analysts' expectations. Nordstrom said it was also competing against strong figures from September 2011 _ a 10.7 percent jump in same-store sales _ when the company offered free shipping and free returns for online purchases.

  • Oct 4- Diagnostic device maker Hologic Inc. said a U.S. district judge found that medical technology company Becton Dickinson& Co infringed on four patents owned by Hologic's unit Gen-Probe.

  • 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.

  • JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Discount retailer Stein Mart Inc. said on Thursday said that a key sales figure rose 2.4 percent in September, hurt in part by stores closing in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. Stein Mart operated 262 stores at the end of September, one more than it had a year earlier. Its shares rose 5 cents to $8.65 in morning trading.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. natural gas futures edged higher early on Thursday, resuming a recent run up that brought the nearby contract to its highest mark this year. As of 9:26 a.m. EDT, front-month November natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange. were at $3.426 per mmBtu, up 3.1 cents, or about 1 percent.

  • Conditions worsened, though, in Kansas and Iowa, the nation's biggest corn producer, and nearly 98 percent of Nebraska was still deemed to be in one of the two worst categories. According to the map, which is put out by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, 75 percent of Iowa is enduring extreme or exceptional drought.

  • FRAMINGHAM, Mass.-- The owner of the TJ Maxx and Marshalls clothing store chains said Thursday that revenue in shops open at least a year rose 6 percent in September, beating Wall Street predictions. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected an increase of 4.5 percent for TJX Cos.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stocks rose at the open on Thursday after labor market data came in within expectations and following encouraging comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on tools to tackle the region's debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 40.66 points, or 0.30 percent, to 13,535.27.

  • CHICAGO-- The final case to stem from the corruption investigation into imprisoned former Illinois Gov. William Cellini, 77, was convicted last year for his role in trying to get a $1.5 million campaign contribution for Blagojevich from the Oscar-winning producer of "Million Dollar Baby" in exchange for state business.

  • Oct 4- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it has cracked down on thousands of online pharmacies for selling potentially unsafe, unapproved or fake pharmaceuticals, including the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and antiviral Tamiflu.

  • "A guy like Romney should excite me," said Becker, 30, a Republican who manages real estate investments in Fairfield, a charming shoreline town on Connecticut's affluent "gold coast." That was before the 90- minute head-to-head matchup between Romney and President Barack Obama in Denver, their first of three debates before Election Day.

  • LOS ANGELES-- Clothing maker American Apparel Inc. said Thursday a key sales figure rose 15 percent in September, helped by online sales and fewer discounts.

  • Oct 4- Tesla Motors Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk dismissed fears the electric carmaker was in financial trouble and said it was making an advance payment on the federal loan used to make its Model S sedan.