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Honda gets a do-over; revamps Civic to fix flaws

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ Honda has made a quick U-turn.

Just 19 months after its Civic compact hit showrooms and was slammed by critics, the company has revamped the car, giving it a sportier look and upgrading the interior.

It's an unusual and costly do-over. But Honda â¿¿ among the auto industry's most highly-regarded brands â¿¿ was worried the car's flaws would hurt sales and market share, analysts say.

The 2013 version goes on sale Thursday, and Honda has given it a sportier profile, replaced its chintzy dashboard and made the ride quieter. The revamp comes to market in about half the time it normally takes, and shows just how concerned Honda is about falling behind rivals.

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US pending home sales jump to nearly a 6-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ An index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to nearly its highest level in almost six years. Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates have made home buying more attractive.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 5.2 percent to 104.8 in October. Excluding a few months when the index spiked because of a homebuyer tax credit, that is the highest level since March 2007.

The increase points to healthy sales increases of previously occupied homes in the months ahead. There's generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

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Applications for US jobless aid fall to 393,000

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 last week. It was the second straight drop after Superstorm Sandy had driven applications much higher earlier this month.

A Labor Department analyst said Thursday that the storm had little effect on last week's data. Applications had spiked to 451,000 three weeks ago after Sandy struck the East Coast, closing businesses in the Northeast and cutting off power to 8 million homes in 10 states.

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