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US hiring surges as unemployment dips to 6.1 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers accelerated their hiring last month, adding a robust 288,000 jobs and helping drive the unemployment rate to 6.1 per cent, the lowest since September 2008.

It was the fifth straight monthly job gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom. In the past 12 months, the economy has added nearly 2.5 million jobs — an average of 208,000 a month, the fastest year-over-year pace since 2006.

Still, wages have yet to rise significantly despite an economic recovery now entering its sixth year. Eventually, analysts say, the falling unemployment rate should cause pay to rise more sharply.

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Dow tops 17,000 after strong jobs report

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average topped 17,000 for the first time Thursday, the index's first big 1,000-point milestone this year, following news that hiring in the U.S. accelerated last month.

The market rose from the opening of trading after the government reported that U.S. employers hired more employees than investors and economists expected. Trading was extremely light, though, and the market closed early ahead of the Fourth of July holiday Friday.

Thursday's gains add to what has been a strong month-and-a-half for Wall Street. Along with the Dow hitting 17,000, the Standard & Poor's 500 index is approaching its own milestone of 2,000. The indexes have risen as a steady stream of good news on jobs and manufacturing bolsters investor confidence.

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US seeks more security at some overseas airports

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials are concerned that al-Qaida is trying to develop a new and improved bomb that could go undetected through airport security.

There is no indication that such a bomb has been created or that there's a specific threat to the U.S., but the Obama administration on Wednesday called for tighter security measures at foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S.

American intelligence has picked up indications that bomb makers from Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have travelled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, known as the Nusra Front, according to a counterterrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter by name. The enhanced security measures have been in the works for the past month, he said.

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Amazon vows to fight FTC on kids in-app purchases

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Amazon says that it is prepared to go to court against the Federal Trade Commission to defend itself against charges that it has not done enough to prevent children from making unauthorized in-app purchases.

The FTC alleged in a draft lawsuit released by Amazon that unauthorized charges by children on Amazon tablets have amounted to millions of dollars.

Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. said in a letter Tuesday to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez that it had already refunded money to parents who complained. It also said its parental controls go beyond what the FTC required from Apple when it imposed a $32.5 million fine on the company in January over a similar matter.

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US services sector expands at slower pace in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services firms expanded again last month but at a slightly slower pace than they did in May. Orders, exports and hiring grew faster in June.

The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its service-sector index slipped to 56 last month, down from May's 56.3 reading. Any figure above 50 indicates expansion, however.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.

The services survey covers businesses that employ 90 per cent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services firms.

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US trade deficit drops to $44.4 billion in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in May as U.S. exports hit an all-time high, helped by a jump in exports of petroleum products. Imports dipped slightly.

The trade deficit narrowed 5.6 per cent in May to $44.4 billion after hitting a two-year high of $47 billion in April, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Exports of goods and services rose 1 per cent to a record $195.5 billion in May while imports fell a slight 0.3 per cent to $239.8 billion.

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Average rate on 30-year mortgages dips this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates are near historically low levels.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average rate for a 30-year loan dipped to 4.12 per cent, down from 4.14 last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage, which had taken a big dip the previous week, was unchanged this week at 3.22 per cent.

Rates on one-year adjustable mortgages averaged 2.38 per cent this week, down from 2.40 per cent last week.

Mortgage rates are slightly lower than they were at the same time last year, having fallen recently after climbing last summer when the Federal Reserve began talking about trimming back the monthly bond purchases it has been using to keep long-term rates low.

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Subaru recalls 660K vehicles for brake line rust

DETROIT (AP) — Subaru is recalling more than 660,000 cars and SUVs because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid, and that can mean it will take longer to stop the vehicles.

For about half the vehicles, it's the second recall for the same problem.

Affected are 2005 through 2009 Legacy and Outback, the 2008 through 2014 Impreza and the 2009 through 2013 Forester.

It covers vehicles sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., where salt is used to clear roads in the winter.

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Express Scripts cuts payments for customized drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, is dramatically scaling back its coverage of compounded medications, saying most of the custom-mixed medicines are ineffective or overpriced.

The company, which manages prescriptions for 90 million Americans, plans to drop coverage for 1,000 drug ingredients commonly found in compounded medications. Express Scripts executives say the move is a cost-saver for employers that will reduce their spending on compounded prescriptions by 95 per cent.

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Fraud, sex, post-it art: Google cuts search link

BRUSSELS (AP) — Google's removal of search results in Europe is drawing accusations of press censorship, as stories from some of the continent's most prominent news outlets begin vanishing. The U.S. internet giant said Thursday it is getting 1,000 requests a day to scrub results.

The U.S. firm must comply with a May ruling from the European Union's top court that enables citizens to ask for the removal of embarrassing personal information that pops up on a search of their names. Among links to vanish were stories on a soccer referee who resigned after a scandal in 2010, French office workers making post-it art, a couple having sex on a train and a lawyer facing a fraud trial.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 92.02 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 17,068.26. The S&P 500 rose 10.82 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 1,985.44 and the Nasdaq composite rose 28.19 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4,485.93.

In energy trading, crude oil fell 42 cents to $104.06 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 24 cents to $111 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $3.02 a gallon. Natural gas rose 5 cents to $4.41 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $2.93 a gallon.

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