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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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American Airlines stumbles on path to recovery

DALLAS (AP) â¿¿ Just weeks ago, American Airlines was working its way through bankruptcy court, on schedule for one of the fastest turnarounds in aviation history. Planes were full. Revenue was pouring in. Then seemingly overnight, American became the butt of jokes from Facebook to late-night TV.

A slowdown that American blamed on pilots caused massive delays and cancellations. Then rows of seats came loose on a few planes. Passengers wondered if they'd get where they were going on time â¿¿ and in one piece.

Some travel experts advised booking on other airlines to avoid getting stranded on American.

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Softbank in talks to invest in Sprint

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Japanese cellphone company Softbank Corp. was in talks Thursday about taking a substantial ownership stake in struggling U.S. carrier Sprint Nextel Corp.

Sprint, the third-largest cellphone company in the U.S., said the deal could be big enough to involve a "change of control" of the company. It didn't provide any other details.

The news sent Sprint shares as high as $6.04, the highest level since 2008.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the talks, reported earlier that the potential deal would help Softbank expand outside of Japan. It put the value of the transaction at more than $12.8 billion.

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US jobless claims fall to 339,000 fewest in 4½ years

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the lowest level in more than four years. The sharp drop, if sustained, could signal a stronger job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the fewest since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low.

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