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WASHINGTON — A sixth straight month of solid 200,000-plus job growth in July reinforces evidence that the U.S. economy is sustaining its gains after five years of sluggish expansion. More people without jobs are also starting looking for one — a shift that nudged up the unemployment rate in July to 6.2 percent because more people were counted as unemployed. Still, Americans' pay isn't budging much. Without significant wage gains, the Federal Reserve may feel leeway to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero well into next year without having to worry about igniting high inflation. By Christopher S. Rugaber and Josh Boak. SENT: 840 words. UPCOMING: 900 words by 3 p.m.


— FINANCIAL MARKETS — There was no reprieve for investors as the U.S. stock market retreated for a second day. Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners following disappointing results from oil giant Chevron and a drop in oil prices. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is on pace for its worst week in more than two years. By Carlo Piovano and Ken Sweet. SENT: 560 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.


DETROIT — Big discounts help keep U.S. auto sales sizzling in July. General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Chrysler all report big gains as the major automakers reported July sales. Industry sales were expected to rise 5 percent to 1.4 million, according to J.D. Power and Associates. That would make it the best July for the industry since 2006. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 660 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated as companies report sales during the day; 700 words by 4 p.m.


— GM-SALES BOOST — As General Motors tackles a safety crisis, a look at its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record spate of safety recalls. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 840 words, photos.


LOS ANGELES — Sometimes the struggles of an industry can bring music to your ears. And your screens. Live Nation's partnership with Yahoo to stream one live concert every day is a rare win for music fans. The series — which began with the Dave Matthews Band in mid-July — offers free, high-quality concert footage in a way that helps the companies providing it, since selling ads is more profitable than concert promotion. The deal opens up a new revenue stream for Live Nation, which reported second quarter earnings on Thursday. And for Yahoo, premium video ad rates could be a cure for the plunging display ad prices elsewhere on its site. By Ryan Nakashima. UPCOMING: 650 words by 1 p.m., photos.



WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer spending rises at the fastest pace in three months in June, providing momentum for the economy going into the second half of the year. Consumer spending increased 0.4 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis following slower increases of 0.3 percent in May and 0.1 percent in April, the Commerce Department says. That's the best showing since a 0.8 percent surge in spending in March, which reflected a rebound after a harsh winter had kept consumers from the malls and auto showrooms. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 760 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — US manufacturing expands for the 14th straight month in July. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index rose to 57.1, up from 55.3 in June. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 280 words.


WASHINGTON — A measure of U.S. consumer confidence slipped in July although it remained at levels signaling further gains in consumer spending. The University of Michigan said Friday that its index of consumer sentiment edged down to 81.8 in July from 82.3 in June. The index of consumers' assessment of current conditions rose but the index for expectations dipped slightly from the June reading. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 230 words.


WASHINGTON — U.S. construction spending falls in June by the largest amount in more than three years as housing, non-residential construction and government spending all weakened. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT 380 words, photo.

— DOW DROP-Q&A — The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 317 points on Thursday, wiping out its gain for the year. It was the biggest drop since February and gave the index a loss for July after five straight months of gains. Here are some questions and answers about the sell-off and what might come next. SENT: 420 words, photo.



The gasoline price roller coaster is running a strange course this summer. August has begun with the lowest average gasoline price for this time of year since 2010 — just a month after drivers were paying the highest gasoline July 4 gasoline price in 6 years. Gasoline prices are falling along with oil prices because concerns of global supply disruptions have subsided somewhat despite continued violence in the Middle East. By Jonathan Fahey. UPCOMING: 400 words by 4 p.m., photos.


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is moving to cut down on the thousands of foodborne illnesses linked to chicken and turkey each year with an overhaul of poultry plant inspection rules that are more than 50 years old. Final rules would reduce the number of government poultry inspectors. But those who remain will focus more on food safety than on quality. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 670 words, photo.

— HYUNDAI-RECALLS — Hyundai is recalling more than 419,000 cars and SUVs to fix suspension, brake and oil leak problems. SENT: 410 words.

— HARLEY-IGNITION SWITCH RECALL — Ignition switch problems that have plagued General Motors and Chrysler have now turned up in the motorcycle business. SENT: 440 words.

— ITALY-FIAT-CHRYSLER — Fiat shareholders voted Friday overwhelmingly in favor of a merger with Chrysler that has been five years in the works and will shift the 115-year-old carmaker's center of gravity abroad. SENT: 440 words.

— SCIENTIFIC GAMES-BALLY ACQUISITION — Scientific Games plans to pay about $3.3 billion to buy Bally Technologies in a deal that would combine makers of gambling equipment ranging from slot machines to instant-win lottery games. The electronic gambling machine maker said Friday that it will pay $83.30 for each share of Bally. SENT: 300 words, photo.

— SALMONELLA OUTBREAK-TRIAL — Attorneys are scheduled to make opening statements in the criminal trial of three people charged in a deadly salmonella outbreak traced to a southwest Georgia peanut plant five years ago. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated from court, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

— MET LABOR DISPUTE — It's a drama worthy of the Metropolitan Opera: Frantic, last-minute labor negotiations aimed at averting a lockout that threatens to stop both pay and benefits for thousands of singers, musicians, stagehands and other workers. With just an hour to spare before of a 12:01 a.m. Friday deadline that would trigger a lockout, the company says it agreed to a federal mediator's request to extend the talks by 72 hours. SENT: 700 words.

— MACAU-CASINO REVENUE — Casino revenue in the global gambling mecca of Macau fell for a second straight month in July as Chinese high rollers stayed away because of Beijing's corruption crackdown. SENT: 290 words.

— CITIGROUP-SEC-MORTAGE SECURITIES — Citigroup Inc. says it's been told by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the agency has completed its investigation of the bank's conduct regarding mortgage bonds and won't bring further enforcement action. SENT: 180 words.

— EDIBLE POT-LIMITS — Marijuana can go in more than brownies and cookies. And the dizzying variety of foods that can be infused with the drug is complicating matters for Colorado regulators who want to make sure pot-infused edibles and drinks won't be confused with regular foods. SENT: 580 words.

— COAL ASH SPILL — The nation's largest public utility has agreed to pay more than $27 million to settle claims from Tennessee property owners who suffered damages from a huge spill of toxin-laden coal ash sludge. SENT: 490 words.

— ALLERGEN-VALEANT LAWSUIT — Botox maker Allergan is suing a Canadian drugmaker and a hedge fund over their hostile takeover attempt, alleging insider trading and other fraud before their plan became public. SENT: 130 words.


— EARNS-P&G — Procter & Gamble Co. is dramatically pruning its product lineup to focus on the most popular of its household staples. The world's largest consumer products maker said it will shed about 90 to 100 brands around the globe over the next year or two, leaving it with about 70 to 80 brands when the nips and tucks are complete. SENT: 700 words.

— EARNS-BURGER KING — Burger King Worldwide Inc. said its profit climbed by 19 percent in the second quarter as lower costs and growth overseas boosted results. SENT: 250 words.

— BRITAIN-EARNS-RBS — The Royal Bank of Scotland says it made a net profit of 1.42 billion pounds ($2.39 billion) in the first half of the year, up from 535 million pounds in 2013, as it warned that Scottish independence could dent its business. SENT: 140 words.

— LUXEMBOURG-EARNS-ARCELORMITTAL — ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, says it swung to a profit in the second quarter on higher steel shipments and better margins, and it sees improving markets in the United States and Europe. SENT: 140 words.

— EARNS-BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 200 words after release.

— EARNS-CHEVRON — Chevron Corp. earnings rose 5.6 percent in the second quarter on asset sales and higher global oil prices, though oil and gas production slipped slightly. SENT: 240 words.


— GERMANY-COPYRIGHT LAW — Yahoo says it has filed a complaint to Germany's highest court against a year-old law that broadened copyright protection for news material used on the Internet. SENT: 130 words.

— HEWLETT-PACKARD-POSTAL SERVICE — Hewlett-Packard Co. has agreed to pay $32.5 million to settle allegations it overcharged the U.S. Postal Service for products over more than eight years. SENT: 130 words.

— MOBILEYE-IPO — Shares of Mobileye are soaring on the Israeli car technology company's first day of public trading amid strong investor demand. SENT: 140 words.


— ARGENTINA-DEBT — A U.S. judge says Argentina officials "must stop" publicly uttering what he calls "half truths" about the South American nation's debt crisis case. SENT: 470 words.

— WORLD TRADE DEAL — The World Trade Organization regroups to see whether it is still possible to finalize a major deal to boost global trade after a deadline passed to formally adopt it. SENT: 350 words, photos.

— FRANCE-CONVICTED TRADER — A Frenchman convicted of one of history's biggest trading frauds is given a conditional release from prison — only to have freedom denied with a quick appeal by the prosecutor's office. SENT: 140 words.

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Big worries over small-caps

Stocks slammed into a wall this week. Small-caps know the feeling. Small-cap stocks have been sliding since the end of June, even as bigger stocks continued to make steady gains before Thursday's drop. It's an abrupt change in momentum as small-cap stocks had been among the market leaders. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.


Burger King profit rises

Burger King Worldwide reported a 19 percent increase in second-quarter earnings Friday. Lower costs and growth overseas helped boost the fast-food chain's results. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.