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AP Business NewsBrief at 3:16 p.m. EST
[November 04, 2009]

AP Business NewsBrief at 3:16 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Fed again pledges to hold rates at record-lowsWASHINGTON (AP) _ With the recession apparently over, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held a key interest rate at a record low and again pledged to keep it there for an "extended period" to foster the fragile economic recovery. The Fed said economic activity has "continued to pick up" and that the housing market also has grown stronger, a key ingredient to a sustained recovery.

Stocks add to gains as Fed holds rates lowNEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks extended their gains after the Federal Reserve said the economy is showing more signs of recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 140 points Wednesday after the Fed, as expected, also left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of essentially zero.

JPMorgan settlement with SEC worth over $700MWASHINGTON (AP) _ JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to a settlement worth more than $700 million over federal regulators' charges that it made unlawful payments to friends of public officials to win municipal bond business in Jefferson County, Ala. The scandal over the county's $3.9 billion debt has pushed it to the brink of filing what would be the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday announced the settlement with JPMorgan, which canceled interest-rate swap contracts with the county worth $700 million in March.

Chrysler aims to revamp Dodge cars under new planAUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Chrysler plans to revamp its struggling Dodge car brand under a new turnaround plan and says the company's cash has grown by nearly $2 billion since it exited bankruptcy protection in June. Under the plan, the automaker aims to introduce four new Dodges by 2013 and put new exteriors, interiors and engines on most of its current lineup. The new Dodges include a mid-size sedan for the North American market designed by Fiat SpA, the Italian automaker that now owns 35 percent of Chrysler.

Microsoft lays off 800 more workers worldwideREDMOND, Wash. (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. says it is cutting 800 more jobs. That's in addition to the 5,000 layoffs it announced in January. Lou Gellos, a Microsoft spokesman, said Wednesday the cuts are being made in offices around the globe. He would not say what specific product groups or job types are affected.

NY joins the antitrust effort against IntelNEW YORK (AP) _ New York's attorney general hit Intel Corp. with an antitrust lawsuit Wednesday, claiming the company used "illegal threats and collusion" to dominate the market for computer microprocessors. Following a similar case in Europe, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo claimed that the world's biggest computer chip maker paid billions of dollars in kickbacks to computer manufacturers and retaliated against those that did too much business with Intel's competitors, namely Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Oil jumps above $80 despite flat demandNEW YORK (AP) _ Crude prices bounced above $80 per barrel once again on Wednesday, a level that even OPEC leaders have said is too high given the fragile state of the global economy. And again it is the U.S. currency that is getting most of the blame.

GM's Opel move raises anger, new uncertaintyBERLIN (AP) _ General Motors Co.'s decision to scrap the sale of European subisidiary Opel raised new uncertainty Wednesday over the unit's future, astonishing politicians in Germany and Russia and prompting workers to plan walkouts in protest. The GM board's unexpected decision to call off the sale to auto parts maker Magna International Inc. and Russian lender Sberbank was a startling end to months of haggling in which Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German leaders had strongly backed the deal.

ISM's service sector index grows again in OctoberNEW YORK (AP) _ The U.S. service sector grew for a second straight month in October, but at a slower pace than in September, as a broad economic recovery creeps along. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its service index dipped to 50.6 last month from 50.9. Any reading above 50 signals growth. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 51.5 for the index that tracks the country's hospitals, retailers, financial services companies and truckers.

Comcast 3Q profit up 22 pct, but growth slowsPHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Comcast Corp. reported a 22 percent increase in third-quarter earnings, buoyed by an investment gain and a lower tax rate as it stepped up promotions on its bundled video, phone and Internet plans. The nation's largest cable TV operator also surpassed AT&T Inc. in the quarter as the country's largest Internet service provider.

(c) 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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