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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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FedEx says economy is stalling, cuts outlook

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ FedEx Corp. says the global economy is stalling, and it's going to get worse next year.

The conditions are shrinking earnings at the world's second-largest package delivery company. Factories are making fewer items for FedEx to ship and customers are opting for cheaper delivery options to save money.

FedEx on Tuesday cut its outlook for global growth and industrial production while slashing the forecast for company earnings. CEO Fred Smith suggested trade has slowed to levels seen during the last two significant economic downturns.

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Apple shares hit $700 for first time

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Apple's stock closed above $700 for the first time on Tuesday, the day after it announced that orders for its iPhone 5 topped 2 million in the first 24 hours.

Shares rose $2.13 to close at $701.91. Earlier, the stock traded as high as $702.33.

The rally in Apple's stock price puts the company's market value at over $657 billion.

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US homebuilder confidence surges to 6-year high

LOS ANGELES (AP) â¿¿ Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in six years and many expect the housing recovery will strengthen in the next six months.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday increased to 40 in September. That's up from 37 in August and the highest reading since June 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.

Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index hasn't reached that level since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

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Broadest US trade deficit fell in Q2 to $117.4 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The U.S. current account trade deficit narrowed in the April-June period, pushed lower by an increase in American exports and cheaper oil imports.

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