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Top News & Analysis United States

  • LOS ANGELES/ CHICAGO, Oct 4- Walmart employees affiliated with a union-backed group walked off the job in Los Angeles on Thursday, protesting working conditions at the world's largest retailer, which promptly defended itself, saying the "publicity stunt" was not having an impact on its business.

  • LEBANON, Tenn.-- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. on Thursday urged its shareholders to vote against the election of two activist shareholders to its board. His firm, Biglari Holdings Inc., owns the Steak `n Shake and Western Sizzlin restaurant chains.

  • *ISS recommends shareholders vote to re-elect all News Corp directors. Oct 4- News Corp's controlling Murdoch family received a major endorsement, and won a symbolic victory, with proxy advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services' recommendation that shareholders vote to re-elect the company's board of directors at its annual shareholder meeting.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The Federal Reserve provided $1.58 billion in liquidity to foreign central banks in the latest week via its swap lines, New York Fed data showed on Thursday. The European Central Bank was the only central bank to tap the swap lines for seven days at a rate of 0.63 percent.

  • will start selling Nokia's two latest Lumia smartphones in November, making it the first carrier to commit to the devices in the United States. Struggling Finnish handset maker Nokia announced earlier it would start selling the smartphones in Europe in November with specific price points.

  • --COMM 2012- LTRT's issuance is a CMBS transaction backed by two commercial mortgage loans totaling $259 million secured by two regional shopping malls: Westroads Mall and Oaks Mall. Westroads Mall is located in Omaha, Neb., with total mall square footage of 1.07 million; 540,304 sq. ft. of which serves as loan collateral.

  • Higher-end retailers like Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom are also dangling bonus dollars in front of their customers and tying them to store credit cards, says Mary Delk, director in the retail practice of the consultancy Deloitte LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  • *Publishers can choose not to participate in Google project. *Deal does not affect Google's litigation with Author's Guild. Google and the Association of American Publishers said on Thursday that U.S. publishers can decide whether they want their books made available through Google or not.

  • Oct 4- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's battle to impose position limits intended to keep speculators from manipulating prices could drag on until at least 2014, after it lost a lawsuit last week.

  • Oct 4- General Electric Co on Thursday issued its second directive this week for an inspection of its new GEnx engine on Boeing Co jets, this time telling airlines to check the installation of a turbine part, after an engine failed on a Boeing 747-8 freighter last month in Shanghai.

  • *Next report, for October, just before Election Day. WASHINGTON, Oct 4- President Barack Obama has survived months of lackluster reports on the nation's unemployment with little effect on his approval ratings or his poll lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney, but that could change on Friday.

  • ALOHA BEEF: Nearly all the beef consumed in Hawaii arrives from the mainland, while Hawaiian cattle ranchers ship 40,000 live cattle each year to the mainland.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The S&P 500 extended gains to a fourth day on Thursday, putting it on the cusp of a new five-year high if Friday's jobs report shows encouraging signs for the labor market. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.75 points, or 0.6 percent, to end unofficially at 13,575.36.

  • NEW YORK-- SEPTEMBER SALES: A tally of 22 major retailers, including Target Corp. and Macy's Inc., showed that September sales rose 3.9 percent compared with a year ago. That's slower than the 6 percent rise in August. BEHIND THE NUMBERS: But shoppers are still spending.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 4- President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney praised the deficit-cutting framework known as Simpson-Bowles in their debate on Wednesday, but neither candidate has embraced the politically unpopular choices put forward in the plan.

  • 0830/ 1230: The Labor Dept. issues Employment Situation for September. 1300/ 1700: NEW YORK- Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke speaks on "Neighborhood Stabilization" in an event held at and hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 1500/ 1900: The Federal Reserve releases a report on consumer installment credit for August.

  • *Coming up: Baker Hughes rig data, CFTC trade data Friday. NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. natural gas futures ended slightly higher on Thursday in a seesaw session, as traders shrugged off a bearish weekly inventory report and focused instead on cooler weather forecasts for next week and better heating demand as winter approaches.

  • LOS ANGELES, Oct 4- Pump prices in California have soared this week and are poised to break a record set in the summer of 2008 due to low inventories and disruptions at key Golden State refineries. The state average for a gallon of regular gasoline jumped to $4.315 on Thursday, 18.2 cents higher than last week and 49 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA data.

  • SAN FRANCISCO-- The cost of gasoline in California jumped 8 cents overnight and is poised to soar to the highest point this year in what analysts say is a supply problem fueled by refinery and pipeline outages.

  • Oct 4- The trustee liquidating Lehman Brothers' U.S. brokerage has reached a settlement with its former derivatives unit that will reduce to $550 million an original claim of $6 billion, according to court documents.