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Top News & Analysis United States

  • WASHINGTON-- U.S. businesses likely increased their stockpiles in August, a sign of higher confidence in the economy. The Commerce Department will release the report at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday. Total business stockpiles rose to $1.59 trillion in July.

  • WASHINGTON-- Retail sales likely showed a gain in September, helped by solid demand at auto dealerships. Economists were expecting overall sales to increase 0.8 percent in September, according to FactSet. The Commerce Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Monday.

  • MILAN-- U.S. farm and industrial vehicle group CNH has rejected a merger proposal from its parent, Fiat Industrial, the Italian company said in a statement Monday.

  • BANGKOK-- European stocks rose and some Asian markets staged a comeback Monday as investors looked ahead to the release of U.S. earnings reports and Softbank's $20 billion deal for Sprint showed optimism amid economic turbulence.

  • BAKU, Azerbaijan-- Azerbaijan's top energy official urged further scrutiny of the international consortium developing the Caspian Sea nation's main oil field amid mounting irritation at a slump in output.

  • While the global economic crisis that began in 2008 has shown few signs of abating in pockets, particularly in Europe, the luxury sector overall has been in recovery since 2010, when high-end consumers resumed their easy spending habits.

  • LEWISTON, Maine-- A Maine brewery is planning an expansion that will quadruple its capacity over time. Baxter Brewing Co. said Monday its brewery in Lewiston will grow from 8,000 barrels to more than 33,000 barrels by the time the expansion is complete.

  • HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Pennsylvania state agencies and local governments in places where drilling for natural gas is occurring learned Monday how much money they will get out from a fund that has already collected more than $200 million in "impact fees" from drillers.

  • NEW YORK-- New York City's transit authority unveiled its latest fare and toll proposals for rails, bridges and subways on Monday, including one that would raise the 30- day unlimited subway MetroCard from $104 to $125. The Metropolitan Transit Authority has said the 2013 hike would bring in $450 million a year to support the nation's largest transit system.

  • In midday trading, benchmark crude oil was down 99 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $90.87. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month. On Friday, the International Energy Agency issued a new report predicting slower growth in demand for oil over the next five years.

  • NEW YORK-- Shares of Clearwire Corp., which operates a wireless data network, hit a 52- week high after Japan's Softbank Corp. agreed to pay $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint Nextel Corp.. THE SPARK: Sprint owns 48 percent of Clearwire but doesn't control its board. It's also Clearwire's biggest customer, reselling access to its network as " Sprint 4 G."

  • WASHINGTON-- Asia's top powers have doubled defense spending in the past decade, spurred by the explosion in military expenditure by China, new research shows. The research covers China, Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan, which account for some 87 percent of Asia's defense spending.

  • BALTIMORE-- Millennial Media Inc. raised its third-quarter revenue forecast Monday on increasing demand, but the mobile advertising company said it expects to post a net loss for its third quarter. The Baltimore- based company anticipates revenue of $46.5 million to $47 million, up from its prior outlook of $43.5 million to $45 million.

  • CHICAGO-- Economists foresee only tepid growth for the coming year, with unemployment back above 8 percent for the first half of 2013.. The quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists released Monday predicts growth will be weak overall but should slowly accelerate through 2013..

  • BANGKOK-- Asian stock markets fell Monday as hopes dimmed for aggressive moves by China to stimulate its slowing economy.

  • Students walking to their apartments might encounter executives heading to a conference on Cornell NYC Tech's park-like campus on Roosevelt Island, according to a plan being submitted Monday for a city review.

  • SAN FRANCISCO-- Corrosion that went unchecked _ the suspected cause of a fire at Chevron Corp.' s Richmond refinery in August _ has been linked to a fire at the plant in October 2011, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

  • Gibbs Sports Amphibians says its new Quadski, which can drive on land as well as in the water, will go on sale before the end of this year. _ PRICE: The company says it will cost around $40,000. Dealerships will be concentrated in New York, Boston, the Great Lakes, Florida and Texas.

  • DETROIT-- Amphibious vehicles could soon be zooming out of James Bond's garage _ or pond _ and into yours. Michigan- based Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc. hopes to sell the vehicle worldwide by 2014.. It's sort of magic, "the founder of Gibbs Sports Amphibians, Alan Gibbs, told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

  • LONDON-- Several supporters of the anti-corporate Occupy movement chained themselves to the pulpit of St. Paul's Cathedral during a service Sunday in an action marking the anniversary of its now-dismantled protest camp outside the London landmark.