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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Morgan Stanley closes a bleak bank earnings season

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ It's tough being a big bank these days.

Morgan Stanley, the storied investment house, reported Thursday that its revenue was down sharply from April through June and its profit missed Wall Street expectations. Its stock was clobbered â¿¿ closing down more than 5 percent.

The report capped a dismal season for the banking industry. This spring was marked by choppy financial markets, concern about the world economy, awkward adjustments to new regulations and one scandal after another.

Of the country's six megabanks only Wells Fargo, which brags about relying on plain-vanilla ways of making money, like taking deposits and making loans, was able to pull in more revenue than it did a year ago.

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Middle East turmoil pushing oil price higher again

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Rising tensions in the Middle East have pushed oil prices up 19 percent over the past three weeks and are resulting in a rise in gasoline pump prices.

Since the start of July, average gasoline prices in the U.S. have climbed 11 cents to $3.44 per gallon. Pump prices are expected to creep higher in the coming weeks, and they aren't likely to fall back to their June low of $3.33 for the rest of the summer, analysts say.

Crude rose $2.79, about 3 percent, to $92.66 per barrel Thursday, its highest level since mid-May. The price has risen $15 per barrel since June 28, when oil hit a low of $77.69.

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US jobless claims rise to 386,000 on seasonal factors

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose by 34,000 last week, a figure that may have been skewed higher by seasonal factors.

Applications for benefits increased to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The gain followed a drop of 24,000 the previous week and was the biggest jump since April 2011.

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