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Tiffany's cuts outlook amid slowing demand

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Tiffany & Co., a bellwether of luxury spending, says its sales aren't rising as fast as last year in the U.S. or abroad, and the gift and jewelry chain cut its forecasts for sales and profit for the year.

Tiffany delivered its lower outlook on Thursday as it reported first-quarter profit essentially the same as a year ago and below what analysts were expecting.

The news from Signet Jewelers Ltd, which targets a more moderate-income market, was similar. Signet reported lower sales than Wall Street expected, and it forecast slower growth.

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Sony ends panel joint venture with rival Sharp

TOKYO (AP) â¿¿ Sony Corp. is ending its joint venture with rival electronics maker Sharp Corp. to produce and sell large liquid-crystal displays for TVs â¿¿ part of its new strategy to buy panels rather than invest in manufacturing them.

Sony said Thursday it will sell back to the joint venture Sharp Display Products Corp. all 7 percent of the stake it has held since 2009. Sony won't lose any money as it will receive 10 billion yen ($126 million), the same as what it paid for shares in the Sharp subsidiary, which produces panels in Sakai city, western Japan.

Tokyo-based Sony, which makes the Walkman portable player and PlayStation 3 game machine, recently also ended its joint venture with Samsung Electronics Co. to produce flat panels.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones Industrial average closed up 33.60 points at 12,529.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 1.82 to 1,320.68. The Nasdaq composite index fell 10.74 points to 2,839.38.

Benchmark U.S. oil rose 76 cents to $90.66 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oil varieties, increased 99 cents to $106.55 per barrel in London.

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