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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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Wal-Mart 2Q profit rises 5.7 percent raises outlook

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter net income and raised its outlook for the full year as the world's largest retailer continues to woo back frugal shoppers by trumpeting the lowest prices on everything from clothes to electronics.

But Wal-Mart is seeing its momentum slow down amid a tough economic climate in the U.S. and abroad. Its total revenue came in short of Wall Street estimates, and the discounter is delaying store expansion plans in Mexico, its largest international division, as it deals with bribery charges there. It's also scaling back store growth plans in China and Brazil to boost profitability in those operations.

Investors, who had sent the stock up 25 percent since mid-May, pushed shares down more than 3 percent on Thursday.

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Facebook hits new low as IPO lock-up ends

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Facebook's stock plunged to a new low Thursday as some of the social networking leader's early backers got their first chance to sell their shares since the company's initial public offering went awry.

Analysts interpreted the unusually high trading volume as a clear sign that at least a few of the insiders were seizing on a fresh selling opportunity. That is stirring a debate over whether they're simply locking in long-awaited gains on investments made many years ago or bailing out of a company that has lost its luster.

A breakdown of just how many major Facebook Inc. shareholders sold their stock probably won't be available until next week at the earliest. Securities regulations give them at least three days before they have to disclose such transactions.

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Justice Dept. approves Verizon cable deals

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Justice Department on Thursday approved Verizon Wireless' $3.9 billion purchase of wireless spectrum from four of the nation's largest cable companies but applied conditions to the deal to protect consumers from reduced competition and higher prices.

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