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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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Biotech drops again, pulling down market

NEW YORK (AP) a¿¿ Biotech stocks tumbled again Thursday and the broader market followed.

After a two-day respite, investors again started dumping shares of cutting-edge drug companies and other industries that have soared over the past year. But biotechnology stocks have turned volatile in recent weeks as regulators scrutinize the cost of their drugs and investors worry their earnings won't justify lofty stock prices.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq composite, which is weighted heavily toward tech and biotech companies, had its worst day since November 2011.

The rout started slowly and picked up speed throughout the day. By the close, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index had its worst day since November 2011. Few companies escaped the sell-off. Of the Nasdaq's 100 largest stocks, only one, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a freight company, ended higher.

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GM puts 2 engineers on paid leave in recall case

DETROIT (AP) a¿¿ General Motors has suspended two engineers with pay in the first disciplinary action linked to its delayed recall of more than 2 million small cars for a deadly ignition switch problem.

The move stems from GM's internal investigation of the matter. At congressional hearings last week, lawmakers alleged that at least one company engineer tried to cover up the switch problem. GM CEO Mary Barra promised action against anyone deemed to have acted inappropriately.

GM, in a statement Thursday, said the engineers were placed on leave after a briefing from former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, whom GM has hired to figure out why it took more than a decade to recall the cars. GM says at least 13 people have been killed in crashes linked to the defective switch, but family members of those who died say the death toll is much higher.

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