Among the stories for Friday from The Associated Press:



WASHINGTON U.S. consumers barely increase their spending in July after their income grew more slowly, held back by steep government spending cuts that reduced federal workers' salaries. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose just 0.1 percent in July from the previous month, slower than June's 0.6 percent increase. By Martin Crutsinger.


WASHINGTON Lawrence Summers is the White House insider with a direct line to President Barack Obama. Janet Yellen is the Federal Reserve veteran with a long list of congressional patrons. The two Ivy League-trained economists have emerged as leading contenders to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Fed, the nation's central bank. Obama could announce his nominee in the coming weeks. By Jim Kuhnhenn.


GENEVA Zurich Insurance Group will investigate whether its former chairman put "undue pressure" on the chief financial officer before his apparent suicide, the company's new acting chairman says. The acting chairman, Tom de Swaan, says the company's board will probe the relationship between Josef Ackermann, who abruptly resigned Thursday, and CFO Pierre Wauthier, who was found dead earlier this week. By John Heilprin.


NEW YORK Days of finding a quarter under your pillow are long gone. The Tooth Fairy no longer leaves loose change. Kids this year are getting an average of $3.70 per lost tooth, a 23 percent jump over last year's rate of $3 a tooth, according to a survey by payment processor Visa Inc. released Friday. An improving economy means parents are giving more. By Joe Pisani.

AP graphic.



WASHINGTON The U.S. concludes that nearly half of Iran's monthly earnings from crude oil exports are accumulating in accounts overseas because of sanctions that restrict Tehran's access to the money. It's the latest indication that new sanctions imposed in February are deepening Iran's economic distress and making it increasingly difficult to access billions of dollars in vital oil revenues. By Marjorie Olster.


NEW YORK Stocks open mixed as investors weigh a government report showing weak consumer spending in July.

OIL PRICES The price of oil falls below $108 a barrel Friday after British lawmakers refuse to approve military action against Syria.



AMSTERDAM Carlos Slim threatens to walk away from his 7.2 billion ($9.5 billion) offer to buy the 70 percent of Dutch telecom Royal KPN NV he doesn't already own after a foundation linked to the company mounted a "poison pill" defense. By Toby Sterling.

CHINA-PETROCHINA-SINOPEC Environmental regulators take the unusual step of blocking China's two biggest oil producers from expanding their refining capacity after they failed to meet targets for reducing pollution, a fresh blow to China's state-owned oil industry.

CHINA-EGYPT-SINOPEC Chinese state-owned oil producer will purchase a $3.1 billion stake in an Egyptian oil and gas production operation from U.S.-based Apache Corp.

GENERAL ELECTRIC-CONSUMER LENDING A published report says General Electric plans to spin off the consumer lending business of its finance arm with an initial public offering of stock that could come early next year.



BEIJING One of China's biggest securities firms is fined $85 million and four executives banned from the industry after computerized trading mistakes caused wild swings in Chinese stock prices. State media says Chinese regulators also ordered Everbright Securities to stop trading on its own account. By Joe McDonald.


BRUSSELS The number of jobless in Europe fell slightly in July and business optimism rose, adding to the tentative signs that the region's economy is staging a modest comeback. By Juergen Baetz.


EUROPE-ECONOMY-GLANCE A breakdown of unemployment across Europe and the eurozone.

JAPAN-ECONOMY Japan's economic recovery gains momentum as manufacturing accelerates and consumer prices rise for a second straight month, despite weaker household spending and retail sales.

CHINA SECURITY CZAR China's top leaders endorse a corruption investigation into a former security czar who was until recently one of the country's most powerful politicians.

INDIA-ECONOMY India assures foreign investors it is not contemplating capital controls as a step to stabilize the falling Indian rupee.

AUSTRALIA-EARNS-VIRGIN Major shareholders in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd., the country's No. 2 airline, provide it with a line of credit after the carrier reported a 98 million Australian dollar ($88 million) annual loss.

SOUTH AFRICA STRIKES A spokesman for a mineworkers' union in South Africa says gold miners will go on strike next week after talks with South Africa's Chamber of Mines collapsed Friday.

BRITAIN-SNOWDEN JOURNALIST The Guardian newspaper and Britain's government agree to allow the authorities to keep sifting through documents seized from the partner of one of the paper's journalists until a full hearing on the issue in October.

THAILAND-BLACKFACE DOUGHNUT AD A leading human rights group calls on Dunkin' Donuts to withdraw a "bizarre and racist" advertisement for chocolate doughnuts that shows a smiling woman in blackface makeup.