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WASHINGTON — Just how healthy is the U.S. job market? Despite steady hiring and falling unemployment, the question remains a subject of sharp debate and considerable uncertainty on the eve of the September jobs report. How many of the millions who are no longer looking for a job will start looking again? What's happened to the still-high number of people who've been out of work for over six months? Why don't more women have jobs? The answers — whenever they come — will play a key role in when the Federal Reserve decides to finally raise interest rates. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 1,200 word, photos.


NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fall again, putting indexes on track for a fourth straight decline, as energy companies dragged down the broader market. Once again, economic concerns in Europe were translating into worries in the U.S. By Ken Sweet. SENT: 600 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.



NAPLES, Italy — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi underlines the bank's willingness to step up its economic stimulus efforts with large-scale bond purchases if needed — but his comments after the bank's meeting did not seem to bring that day any closer. Markets fell after his statements, as some investors were hoping for a stronger commitment to more stimulus. By David McHugh and Colleen Barry. SENT: 810 words, photos, glance.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The owners of the San Francisco 49ers had more than just football in mind when the team recently opened its $1.3 billion stadium in Silicon Valley. Levi's Stadium also serves as a massive laboratory to test technology's ability to change the way large crowds experience athletic events, concerts and possibly even political conventions. The 49ers hope to demonstrate that everything from steering fans to their parking spots before the game to identifying the least congested bathrooms on the way out can be handled by just one app. By Michael Liedtke. UPCOMING: 800 words by 2 p.m., photos.


HONG KONG — Shops in Hong Kong have closed and the local stock market has plunged but protesters are gambling their agitation for greater democracy will pay off by preserving institutions that made this former British colony a profitable asset to China. The impact on Hong Kong's key industries of finance and trade is limited so far. But economists warn Hong Kong's appeal to global companies might erode if they start to think protests will become more frequent — or if they end in a violent crackdown. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 840 words, photos.


— HONG KONG-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS-CYBER SPYING — The Chinese government might be using smartphone apps to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a U.S. security firm says. Lacoon Mobile Security says the applications are disguised as tools created by activists, and that once downloaded, they give an outsider access to the phone's address book, call logs and other information. SENT: 340 words, photos.


— HONG KONG-PROTEST APP — Just as protesters in Egypt depended on Twitter three years ago, the latest digital tools have become required gear for tens of thousands of people demanding democratic reforms on the streets of Hong Kong. SENT: 270 words, photos.



WASHINGTON — The head of the International Monetary Fund says that six years after the financial crisis, the world is still mired in a disappointing economic recovery and will only be able to regain momentum through improved government policies. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says the world has experienced a sub-par recovery that is "brittle, uneven and beset by risks." Those risks include potential escalation of the strife in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as the Ebola outbreak in Africa. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 440 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits drops 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of Americans collecting benefits dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years. The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,250 to 294,750. By Josh Boak. SENT: 380 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories fall in August by the largest amount on record, but the drop is heavily weighed by an expected plunge in volatile aircraft orders. A key category that tracks business investment plans posted a small increase, offering an encouraging sign that factory production will sustain momentum in the second half of this year. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 500 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — A key long-term U.S. mortgage rate dips this week, the second drop after a large increase two weeks ago. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year loan slipped to 4.19 percent from 4.20 percent last week. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 360 words, photo, glance.


CHICAGO — While Washington's attention was focused on a Secret Service scandal, President Barack Obama slipped away for an overnight trip to his family home in Chicago and a speech to assure voters he is still focused on the economy. Obama is delivering his afternoon economic address at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 520 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated from 2:15 p.m. speech.

— DUBAI-EMAAR — Shares in the owner of the Middle East's largest mall jump more than 12 percent in the first day of trading on the Dubai stock exchange after its initial public offering. SENT: 230 words.



HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears, sorely in need of cash, is selling most of its stake in its Canadian unit to raise as much as $380 million. The rights offering to shareholders for the majority of its 51 percent stake in Sears Canada Inc. will give the retailer some breathing room as it heads into the crucial holiday season. It's the last in a string of initiatives the company is undertaking to shore up finances. By Anne D'Innocenzio and Michelle Chapman. SENT: 630 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The number of chronic safety violators among mine operators falls sharply in recent years, according to government figures. The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the number has dropped in response to reforms the agency has taken to rein in bad actors. The National Mining Association counters that the industry's own safety program deserves the credit. By Frederic J. Frommer. SENT: 580 words.


PARIS — The world's leading carmakers present their next best thing at the Paris Car Show, as the European auto industry — and the overall economy — tries to dig out of a prolonged slump. UPCOMING: xxx words by xx, to be updated throughout the day, photos, video.


— PARIS MOTOR SHOW-FIAT — Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says fellow car bosses "are still reeling" from the profit warning that rival Ford announced on the eve of the biennial gathering in Paris. SENT: 140 words, photos.

— PARIS MOTOR SHOW-FERRARI — The incoming boss of Ferrari has one "very high" priority: getting his cars back on top of the Formula One podium. SENT: 190 words, photos.

— PARIS-MOTOR SHOW-RUSSIA — Troubles in Russia's once-booming car market linked to sanctions are dampening spirits at the Paris Motor Show. SENT: 290 words, photos.

— BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-ACQUISITION —Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, owner of businesses ranging from the BNSF railroad to Dairy Queen, is buying the privately-owned auto dealership company Van Tuyl Group. Financial terms were not disclosed. SENT: 450 words, photo.

— BUFFETT-COCA-COLA PAY PLAN — Investor Warren Buffett is praising the changes Coca-Cola made to its executive compensation plan after he and other investors criticized it. SENT: 150 words.

— SOFTBANK-LEGENDARY ENTERTAINMENT — Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank Corp. is investing $250 million in media company Legendary Entertainment, known for films such as "The Dark Knight" and "Man of Steel." SENT: 250 words.

— DRUG CARTELS-MONEY LAUNDERING — Federal authorities slap new financial reporting rules on 2,000 businesses in the fashion district of Los Angeles in an effort to curtail suspected Mexican drug money laundering. SENT: 470 words.

— KODAK-JOB CUTS — Eastman Kodak says it will cut 70 jobs at its Rochester-area operations as it transitions to a smaller company focused on commercial and packaging printing. SENT: 130 words.

— NETHERLANDS-PHILIPS — Royal Philips NV says it will book a $467 million (366 million-euro) charge in the third quarter after losing a patent lawsuit to smaller U.S. competitor Masimo Corp. SENT: 140 words.

— GERMANY-ALLIANZ-CEO — German insurer Allianz SE says board member Oliver Baete will take over as chief executive in May when current CEO Michael Diekmann steps down after more than a decade in charge. SENT: 140 words.

— TRADER INDICTED — Chicago prosecutors say a high-frequency trader in New Jersey has been indicted for allegedly manipulating commodities prices by using software that executes trades within milliseconds. SENT: 150 words.



WASHINGTON — Another year, another headache for the Obama administration over a health care website. This one is called "Open Payments." The goal was to allow consumers to find out if their doctors are getting drug company freebies, travel or other financial benefits that could create ethical conflicts. But since the site launched Tuesday, complaints have been piling up. For starters, it lacks a "Find Your Doctor" button. By Ricardo Alonso-Zalvidar and Jack Gillum. SENT: 670 words, photo.

— FILM-NETFLIX-SANDLER — Adam Sandler signs a deal with Netflix to star in and produce four films for the streaming service that's making a push into original movies. The films will premiere exclusively on Netflix. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— FILM-TWILIGHT-FACEBOOK — "Twilight" will be raised from the dead for a series of short films on Facebook. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— SKOREA-SAMSUNG-CHINA-LAWSUIT — A Chinese supplier of Samsung Electronics Co. files a lawsuit accusing a New York City-based labor watchdog of spreading false rumors of child labor, but the labor group says it has evidence to back up its report. SENT: 320 words.

— FINLAND-ROVIO — Mobile game developer Rovio Entertainment Ltd. says it plans to cut some 16 percent of its workforce amid signs that its Angry Birds game is losing some of its luster. SENT: 140 words.

— MIT-TWITTER ARCHIVE — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Twitter are teaming up on a $10 million project to better understand social networks and figure out new ways to benefit from them. SENT: 240 words.


— EUROPE-BUDGET CONTROL — European lawmakers grill the 28-nation bloc's incoming economy chief, Pierre Moscovici, because many fear he cannot be trusted to properly enforce rules limiting government deficits. SENT: 470 words, photos.

— GREECE-STOCK EXCHANGE-PARCEL — Greek police destroy a suspicious parcel sent to the Athens Stock Exchange that was stopped at the mailroom and did not disrupt trading. SENT: 100 words.

— BRITAIN-PAYDAY LENDING — Payday lender Wonga agrees to write off the debts of 330,000 people it admits shouldn't have gotten loans in the first place. SENT: 130 words.

— SLOVAKIA-GAS — Slovakia says its gas supplies from Russia are down 50 percent for a second day. SENT: 130 words.



After delivering solid and consistent returns through the first half of the year, most types of mutual funds faltered in the third quarter. It wasn't a disaster — most of the declines were only modest — but it was a letdown for anyone who got accustomed to steady and widespread quarterly gains. Of the 105 mutual-fund categories that Morningstar tracks, 76 fell from July through September. Compare that with the prior quarter, when only six categories had losses, and those were mostly niche types of funds that few investors own. By Stan Choe. SENT: 840 words.

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Is growth finally picking up?

The U.S. economy grew at a robust 4.6 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the government said last week. That's the fastest pace in more than two years and a sign growth could be breaking out of its sluggish post-recession pace. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.



For the week ending Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014


The dominating dollar

Expectations of possible interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve sent the dollar's value jumping last quarter against currencies from around the world. The U.S. Dollar index, which measures the value of the dollar against the euro, British pound and other currencies, had its biggest one-quarter gain in six years. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.