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Top News & Analysis United States

  • NEW YORK-- Shares of Biogen Idec Inc. continued to slump Friday after the company said the Food and Drug Administration has delayed a decision on its multiple sclerosis pill BG-12.

  • Texas- based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,410 rigs were exploring for oil and 427 were searching for gas. A year ago, Baker Hughes listed 2,013 rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Alaska gained five rigs while Arkansas, Colorado and North Dakota rose by two each.

  • NEW YORK-- United Parcel Service Inc. is expected to offer a subdued view of the global economy when it reports its third-quarter results before the market opens Tuesday. Smaller rival FedEx Corp. said the same in September. Last month FedEx unveiled a plan to boost profit by $1.7 billion annually by shedding jobs, aircraft and underused assets.

  • NEW YORK-- Shares of Capital One Financial Corp. rose to a nearly five-year high Friday, as recent big acquisitions helped the bank grow net income 47 percent in the third quarter. THE SPARK: Capital One on Thursday said that it earned $1.17 billion, or $2.01 per share for the three months ended Sept. 30.

  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sued a Queens beauty school, claiming it convinced hundreds of students to pay course fees but failed to train them as nail specialists.

  • AUSTIN, Texas-- The Texas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the state's much-maligned business tax that provides the second-biggest source of general revenue, preserving current rules for now before lawmakers potentially overhaul the law next year.

  • WASHINGTON-- The maker of Banana Boat sunscreen is recalling a half-million bottles of spray-on lotion after reports that a handful of people have caught on fire after applying the product and coming in contact with open flames.

  • INDIANAPOLIS-- The state Department of Workforce Development says Indiana's unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in September, the first drop in in five months even though the state lost 6,000 private-sector jobs. The 8.2 percent rate matches the unemployment rate for Indiana in July and is a full percentage point lower than it was in September 2011.

  • THE NEWS: HMX Acquisition Corp., the owner of tailored clothing brands including Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. THE CONTEXT: The labels Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx got their start in 1887 in Chicago and have been worn by presidents including Barack Obama.

  • WASHINGTON-- Medicare is coming under scrutiny in the meningitis outbreak that has rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation's drug supply. In 2007, Medicare revoked coverage of compounded inhaler drugs for lung disease.

  • September was the second month in a row the unemployment rate dropped in Louisiana, after no improvement since January, when joblessness hit a post-recession low of 6.9 percent. Louisiana had a 7.2 percent unemployment rate in September 2011. In September 2011, the state had 148,000 unemployed people.

  • HELENA, Mont.-- Montana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased slightly to 6.1 percent in September, compared to the national rate of 7.8 percent. Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly says that the downward trend was fueled by an increase of 1,100 jobs in the state.

  • But times are tough for unions in the Rust Belt, even in a longtime bastion like Michigan.

  • The euro fell to $1.3023 in late trading Friday from $1.3061 late Thursday. The British pound fell to $1.6014 from $1.6062. The dollar rose to 79.28 Japanese yen from 79.23 yen, to 0.9285 Swiss franc from 0.9253 Swiss franc and to 99.34 Canadian cents from 98.53 Canadian cents.

  • NEW YORK-- HMX Acquisition Corp., the owner of tailored clothing brands including Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

  • ST. LOUIS-- Peabody Energy Corp., the world's biggest private-sector coal company, is expected to post lower earnings compared to a year ago, when it reports second-quarter results before the stock market opens Monday.

  • Disappointing results from three giants of the Dow _ Microsoft, General Electric and McDonald's _ were to blame. The Dow sank 221 points, or 1.6 percent, to 13,327. The S&P was down 26, or 1.8 percent, at 1,431. The Nasdaq composite index, hammered by a second ugly day for Google, lost 70 points to 3,002, a 2.3 percent decline.

  • JOLIET, Ill.-- For the first time on a key Midwestern route between Chicago and St. Louis, an Amtrak passenger train topped 110 mph Friday, ripping through fog-shrouded farm fields and blowing past cars on a parallel highway. Illinois and the country was a wasteland when it came to high speed rail, "said U.S.

  • PEORIA, Ill.-- Caterpillar Inc. shares fell Friday after the company reported a slowdown in sales of its heavy equipment and engines last month. Caterpillar said worldwide sales of its heavy equipment rose 6 percent in September, down from gains of 13 percent and 14 percent in August and July, respectively.