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Top News & Analysis United States

  • --Health Care Service Corp. has a very strong financial risk profile underpinned by excellent balance sheet strength and very strong business risk profile. --We are affirming our' AA-' financial strength on Health Care Service Corp. and our' AA-' issue rating on its $500 million senior notes.

  • DUBAI, Oct 4- HSBC Holdings Plc is to significantly scale back the scope of its global Islamic banking operations, as the business becomes the latest area to be affected by a wider restructuring at the UK- based bank.

  • 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.

  • WASHINGTON/ LONDON, Oct 3- To win approval for their planned $45 billion merger, EADS and BAE systems must persuade Washington to let a pan-European behemoth control some of the most sensitive U.S. defence contracts, without triggering a political backlash.

  • Trading house Marubeni Corp gained 1.4 percent to 498 yen after Barclays Securities lifted its price target on the stock to 700 yen from 650, saying the company had lower exposure to resources businesses than its peers. to 1,860 yen from 2,000, Mitsui& Co to 1,320 yen from 1,350, Sumitomo Corp to 1,190 yen from 1,230, and Itochu Corp to 1,070 yen from 1,100..

  • CHARLESTON, S.C.-- A new study concludes that a wind farm off the South Carolina coast could mean billions of dollars in wages and thousands of jobs. The study released Wednesday was compiled by Clemson's Restoration Institute and its Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs for the state Energy Office.

  • 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.