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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Unemployment could stay high as US economy slows

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ High unemployment isn't going away â¿¿ not as long as the economy grows as slowly as it did in the April-June quarter.

Weak consumer spending held growth to an annual rate of just 1.5 percent, even less than the 2 percent rate in the first quarter. And few expect the economy to accelerate in the second half of the year as Europe's financial woes and a U.S. budget crisis restrain businesses and consumers.

The growth estimate Friday from the Commerce Department suggested that the U.S. economy could be at risk of stalling three years after the recession ended. Economists generally say even 2 percent annual growth would add only about 90,000 jobs a month. That's too few to drive down the unemployment rate, which is stuck at 8.2 percent.

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Fragile European economy dampens CEOs' outlook

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Deteriorating financial conditions in Europe are weighing down companies' profits. And hope of salvation from other regions â¿¿ such as China, Brazil and the U.S. â¿¿ is starting to dim as those economies weaken.

That's the message from this week's parade of second-quarter earnings from some of the world's largest companies.

One CEO after another told investors and Wall Street analysts that Europe was making them nervous.

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Tough EU stance? It's in Germany's culture

BERLIN (AP) ⿿ Head to the checkout at an Ikea in Stockholm to pay for your new leather corner sofa and with the swipe of a Visa card it's yours. Don't try that in Berlin ⿿ that'll be ⿬1,699 ($2,080) up front please.

It's that financial culture â¿¿ a deep-seated aversion to debt and an emphasis on responsibility â¿¿ that makes Chancellor Angela Merkel's hardline approach to solving the European financial crisis so popular in Germany.

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