Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Slovakia rejects expanded eurozone bailout fund

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) â¿¿ Slovakian lawmakers on Tuesday rejected participating in an expanded euro rescue fund that is aimed at shoring up confidence in the ability of euro members to survive the financial crisis.

Slovakia's 1-year-old coalition government also fell with the vote because the prime minister had tied it to a confidence measure.

Slovakia remains the only country in the 17-member eurozone that has not approved the package of measures, which requires unanimous support to go into effect. The euro stability fund is designed to boost Europe's firefighting capabilities in the financial crisis.

EU officials still could find a way of getting around the Slovakian rejection of the bill to boost the powers and size of the euro bailout fund, which is designed to contain debt market turmoil, but doing so would carry costs to European unity.

The "no" vote will further complicate the eurozone's efforts to deal with the crisis, which already has seen three countries get bailouts and raised fears of a Greek default and massive losses for banks.

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FDIC backs ban on banks trading for own profit

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Banks would be barred from trading for their own profit instead of their clients under a rule federal regulators proposed Tuesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. backed the draft rule on a 3-0 vote. The ban on so-called proprietary trading was required under the financial overhaul law.

For years, banks had bet on risky investments with their own money. But when those bets go bad and banks fail, taxpayers could be forced to bail them out. That's what happened during the 2008 financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve has also approved a draft of the so-called Volcker Rule, named after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker.

The Securities and Exchange Commission must still vote on it, and then the public has until January 13 to comment. The rule is expected to take effect next year after a final vote by all three regulators.

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Senate nears vote to defeat Obama's jobs bill

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Despite President Barack Obama's exhortations, the Senate prepared to swiftly kill his jobs package Tuesday and the White House and congressional leaders were already moving on to other ways to cut the nation's painfully high unemployment without raising taxes.

Obama's $447 billion jobs bill didn't figure to get a single GOP vote, even after his weeks-long campaign-style effort to drum up support for a measure he said would reduce the jobless rate from its current 9.1 percent.

Anticipating defeat, Obama promised to try again in smaller bites. "If they don't pass the whole package we're going to break it up into constituent parts" and try to push them through separately, Obama told members of his jobs council.

Still he pressed hard for Senate passage of the entire bill.

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Protesters march past millionaires' NYC homes

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Now it's personal: Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters held a "Millionaires March" on Tuesday past the homes of some of the wealthiest executives in America, stopping to jeer "Tax the rich!" and "Where's my bailout?"

Walking two-by-two on the sidewalk because they had no march permit and didn't want to be charged with blocking traffic, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement and other groups made their way up Manhattan's East Side, along streets like Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue where some of the richest 1 percent of the population live in townhouses and luxury apartments.

They paused outside buildings where media mogul Rupert Murdoch, banker Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch have homes, and decried the impending expiration of New York's 2 percent "millionaires' tax" in December.

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Senate heads toward passage of China currency bill

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Senate is trying to slow China's economic juggernaut with threats of higher tariffs on Chinese products made cheap through an artificially undervalued currency, which lawmakers blame for destroying American jobs. The House, though, is unlikely to take up the bill, which some American businesses warn could trigger a trade war.

Congress is also on the final lap of completing legislation that could put some new life in the U.S. economy by approving free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

The currency legislation, expected to pass the Senate easily on Tuesday, has both strong advocates, who say it will make American goods more competitive and support more than 1 million new jobs, and critics who warn that will provoke Chinese retaliation and hurt Americans in one of their fastest-growing markets.

The bill could die in the House, where a companion measure has the sponsorship of more than half the members but lacks the support of the GOP leadership.

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Alcoa third-quarter income, revenue rise from a year earlier

DALLAS (AP) â¿¿ Alcoa's quarterly profit fell short of expectation as worries about the global economy hurt aluminum prices.

Alcoa Inc. reported net income of $172 million, or 15 cents per share Tuesday. That was better than year-earlier net income of $61 million, or 6 cents per share. Revenue rose 21 percent to $6.42 billion.

But results were weaker than expected. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast earnings of 22 cents per share on revenue of $6.24 billion.

The performance marked a disappointing start to earnings season

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NY comptroller warns of weakness on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes, threatening tax revenue for a city and state heavily reliant on the financial industry, New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tuesday.

After adding 9,900 jobs between January 2010 and this April, the industry shed 4,100 jobs through August and could lose nearly 10,000 more by the end of 2012, DiNapoli said. That would bring the total industry loss to 32,000 positions since the economic crisis of 2008. The sector employed 166,600 people in investment banks, securities trading firms and hedge funds as of August.

DiNapoli said New York Stock Exchange firms earned $9.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, but declined sharply in the second quarter and are likely to reach $18 billion for the year, a third less than in 2010.

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Fewer flights could cost jobs at American Airlines

DALLAS (AP) â¿¿ Fall and winter service reductions at American Airlines could cost some workers their jobs at the nation's third-largest airline company.

American announced late Monday that it will reduce passenger-carrying capacity in the October-through-December quarter by about 3 percent compared with late 2010. It cited the weak economy, high fuel costs, and more pilots retiring.

Analysts said the move, along with similar recent announcements from United and Delta, showed that airlines were serious about controlling costs. Barclays Capital said Tuesday that it still expects American's parent, AMR Corp., to lose money through next year â¿¿ but not as much, thanks to the reductions.

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Studios' view-everywhere system has soft launch

LOS ANGELES (AP) â¿¿ A Hollywood initiative that aims to revive home video sales by enabling you to watch your purchased movies on multiple devices had a soft start Tuesday as Warner Bros. released "Horrible Bosses" without many of the hoped-for partnerships in place.

Several movie studios had intended to launch the UltraViolet system with an array of retailers and gadget makers to form an interconnected web of shared commerce. The concept was that you could buy a Blu-ray disc from Wal-Mart and have a digital version streamed to you by cable giant Comcast Corp. without even removing the shrink wrap.

Today, when you buy a digital movie, you are typically restricted to watching on specific devices. Movies bought on Apple Inc.'s iTunes work only on Apple devices, and those bought on Amazon.com can be watched on computers and TVs but not iPhones or iPads. The idea behind UltraViolet is to unshackle movies from those constraints.

In reality, a back-end system to allow such seamless viewing across devices hasn't been created. The early version of UltraViolet lives inside a walled garden that is owned entirely by one movie studio â¿¿ in this case, Warner Bros.

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Dollar Thrifty takes itself off the market

TULSA, Okla. (AP) â¿¿ Car-rental company Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. is taking itself off the market after failing to get any acceptable takeover proposals from Hertz or anybody else.

Not too long ago Dollar Thrifty found itself being pursued by both Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and Avis Budget Group Inc. But Avis took itself out of the bidding in mid-September, leaving Hertz as the lone bidder.

Dollar Thrifty said Tuesday that it had given suitors until Monday to submit their "best and final" offers. It said in August that it needed a bid that would pass antitrust muster.

But the rental car company from Tulsa, Okla., said it did not receive any proposals meeting this criterion, so it will continue to run as a stand-alone company.

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Retailer 99 Cents Only to be sold for $1.6 billion

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Discount chain 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it has agreed to be acquired for about $1.6 billion by private equity firm Ares Management LLC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the latest big investors to bet on the increasingly popular dollar store industry.

The $22 per share cash offer is 7.4 percent higher than the retailer's shares finished at on Monday. But it is a 32 percent premium over the company's closing price on March 10, the day before 99 Cents Only disclosed that it had received an acquisition offer from a different private equity firm.

Dollar store operators like 99 Cents Only have thrived in the weak economy. Shoppers have turned to the discounters for deals on necessities like food and cleaning supplies, and for bargains on toys and other household goods.

99 Cents Only, based in City of Commerce, Calif., operates 289 stores in the Western U.S.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 16.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 11,416.3. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.65 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,195.54 The Nasdaq composite rose 16.98, or 0.7 percent, to 2,583.03.

Benchmark crude rose 40 cents to finish at $85.81 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price many international kids of oil, rose $1.40 to end at $108.05 a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, heating oil was virtually unchanged at $2.9041 per gallon and gasoline futures rose 5.23 cents to finish at $2.7476 per gallon. Natural gas futures increased by 7.5 cents to end the day at $3.616 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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