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Top News & Analysis United States

  • PLEASANTON, Calif.-- Heart device maker Thoratec on Thursday said it promoted Taylor C. Harris to chief financial officer. Thoratec, based in Pleasanton, Calif., makes HeartMate pumps, which are used in patients who are waiting for a heart transplant or for those who are too sick to have heart transplant surgery.

  • 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.

  • Celgene edged higher before markets opened Thursday, a day after the drug developer's stock slid on the release of a report in Europe regarding its cancer treatment Revlimid. Celgene recorded $934 million in revenue from Revlimid in the second quarter, a 17 percent increase compared to last year, driven in part by market share gains and a geographic expansion.

  • 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.

  • *Move follows record fraud fine in United States. LONDON, Oct 11- GlaxoSmithKline, criticised in the past for keeping important information about its medicines to itself, is to lift the lid on more of its drug data secrets.

  • RICHMOND, Va.-- Comcast Corp. is kicking off the second year of a program aimed at making sure low-income families in Virginia have Internet access. To date, more than 1,800 families in Virginia have been connected to the Internet through the program.

  • WINONA, Minn.-- Fastenal Co. said Thursday that its third-quarter net income rose 13 percent, boosted by double-digit sales increases in all three months of the period and the addition of new stores.

  • 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.

  • Oct 11- Pfizer Inc said a late-stage trial of its experimental pain drug showed that the drug's long-term safety profile was comparable to those of similar formulations. The trial tested the safety of the drug, called ALO-02, when administered for up to 12 months.

  • DOVER, Del.-- The Obama administration's secretary of housing and urban development is visiting Delaware to take part in a conference on affordable housing. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan will give the keynote speech Thursday at the 2012 Governor's Conference on Housing.

  • 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.

  • Oct 11- Supermarket operator Safeway Inc posted a lower quarterly profit from continuing operations on Thursday amid rising competition from other grocery sellers, while net profit increased, helped by the sale of some stores.

  • *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.

  • SAN DIEGO-- City officials say a San Diego judge ordered Rite Aid Corp. and its California subsidiary Thrifty PayLess Inc. to pay $800,000 to settle a complaint alleging false advertising.

  • ATLANTA-- Zep Inc., which makes cleaners, pest and weed control products and disinfectants, said Thursday that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income jumped 79 percent despite a drop in revenue. For the quarter ended Aug. 31, the Atlanta- based company earned $7.3 million, or 33 cents per share, up from $4.1 million, or 18 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

  • *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.