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Business Highlights

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Microsoft top entertainment executives step down

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) â¿¿ Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that two key executives from the group that makes the Xbox 360 game system, Windows mobile phones and Zune media players are leaving the company.

The shakeup comes at a critical time for Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division. The company's phone software and Zune both lag those of competitors, notably Apple Inc. Microsoft just overhauled its mobile phone system and started selling a new brand of phones, called Kin, for younger users. And the company is hoping to improve Xbox sales with an upcoming video game system that understands body movements, code-named "Project Natal."

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Some Fed banks wanted higher emergency loan rate

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Three of the Federal Reserve's 12 regional banks made a push last month to bump up the interest rate banks pay the Fed for emergency loans, according to a document released Tuesday.

The regional banks were in Kansas City, St. Louis and Dallas. They wanted to boost the discount rate to 1 percent from 0.75 percent. The rate doesn't directly affect borrowing costs for Americans.

Late last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his four other board members unanimously decided to keep the current rate. By The Associated Press

The Dow finished down 22.82 at 10,043.75.

The Nasdaq composite index closed down 2.60 at 2,210.95, and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index managed a slight gain â¿¿ up 0.38 at 1,074.03.

Benchmark crude for July delivery dropped $1.46 to settle at $68.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex trading in June contracts, heating oil fell 2.76 cents to settle at $1.8717 a gallon, and gasoline dropped 4 cents to settle at $1.9308 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3.4 cents to settle at $4.051 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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