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Top News & Analysis New York

  • The news could help President Barack Obama in his tight race for re-election on Nov. 6 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who says Obama has mishandled the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday after an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims, suggesting improving labor market conditions. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 61.29 points, or 0.46 percent, at 13,406.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 23.22 points, or 0.76 percent, at 3,075.00.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- U.S. natural gas futures edged higher early on Thursday as near-term cool weather and continuing nuclear power plant outages kept demand strong ahead of a weekly inventory report.

  • NEW YORK-- Stocks are opening higher after better-than-expected job numbers. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 339,000. That's the lowest in more than four years. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average is up 62 points just after the opening bell at 13,406. That's after three days of declines.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- DBRS reaffirmed the United States' top AAA credit rating and stable outlook on Thursday, saying the economy remains highly productive and is flexible enough to respond to external shocks. The ratings agency acknowledged that U.S. efforts to boost growth since the financial crisis have increased the U.S. debt burden.

  • NEW YORK, Oct. 11- If your company tells you it's replacing your health insurance with a high deductible plan paired with a health savings account- or adding that option to your benefits menu- you might want to make your first stop the information technology department rather than human resources.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- Lab testing company Quest Diagnostics Inc said on Thursday it will cut 400 to 600 jobs by the end of 2013 as part of its effort to reduce costs by $500 million. The job cuts, which will save $65 million, are part of a restructuring in which the company will have only two divisions, Quest said in a statement.

  • Oct 11- Flushing Financial Corp:. *Savings bank to combine with its subsidiary under New York commercial bank. *Filed an application to combine with subsidiary Flushing commercial bank.

  • NEW YORK-- Safeway Inc. says its net income rose 21 percent in the third quarter as it benefited from the sale of its Genuardi's stores. The Pleasanton, Calif.- based company, which also operates Vons, Dominick's and other grocery chains, says it earned $157 million, or 66 cents per share, in the period. That compares with $130.2 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago.

  • *Sprint jumps on reports of possible Softbank deal. NEW YORK, Oct 11- U.S. stocks were poised for a higher open on Thursday after data showed initial jobless claims fell to the lowest level in more than four and a half years.

  • *Sprint shares up 16 pct in premarket trade. TOKYO/ NEW YORK, Oct 11- Softbank Corp, Japan's third-largest mobile carrier, is in talks to buy a majority stake in U.S. operator Sprint Nextel Corp for more than 1 trillion yen, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

  • LONDON, Oct 11- The Rolling Stones released new single "Doom and Gloom" on Thursday, their first new song in over six years, and early reviews were mixed.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- Fortescue Metals, the fourth-largest iron ore producer in the world, reduced pricing and increased the size of its covenant-lite refinancing loan, sources told Thomson Reuters LPC. Joint lead arrangers Credit Suisse and JP Morgan launched the loan, which will refinance existing debt via issuer FMG Resources, at an October 3 bank meeting.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according government data on Thursday that suggested improvement in the labor market. DOUG BRAIN, ECONOMIST, STONE& MCCARTHY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES, PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY.

  • OWEGO, N.Y.-- A Texas company has begun drilling a vertical well to explore the potential of the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation, joining about a dozen others probing the potentially lucrative rock beneath New York's southern tier. Carizzo Oil& Gas of Houston recently started digging its first well north of the Tioga County village of Owego.

  • NEW YORK-- Williams-Sonoma's potential for international expansion could position the company for solid sales growth in the near and long term, William Blair as it raised its rating on the upscale home goods company.

  • Crude futures were up ahead of the data on heightened tensions between Turkey and Syria and the potential threat to oil supply in the region. Brent crude was up $1.10 at $115.43 a barrel at 8:45 a.m. EDT, having traded from $114.42 to $115.59. U.S. crude was up $1.24 at $92.49 a barrel, having traded from $91.09 to $92.70.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according government data on Thursday that suggested improvement in the labor market. MICHAEL MORAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, DAIWA SECURITIES AMERICA, NEW YORK. DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, 4 CAST LTD, NEW YORK.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- Clearwire Corp:.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according government data on Thursday that suggested improvement in the labor market. STORY: TABLE COMMENTS: DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, 4 CAST LTD, NEW YORK.