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LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Directories provider Yell Group said Tuesday that it has extended the deadline for its lenders to respond to its refinancing proposal to Wednesday Oct. 28. The previous deadline, which had already been extended once, was Monday.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


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NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The pilots of Northwest Flight 188 told investigators they were distracted by a series of mundane activities that led to them missing their destination by about 150 miles, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. In interviews with the National Transportation Board, the pilots said a bathroom break, chatting with a flight attendant in the cockpit and then taking out their laptops to discuss work schedules, caused them to not notice more than an hour of radio silence with air-traffic controllers, the newspaper reported. The safety board and the Federal Aviation Adminis
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tration is still looking into the possibility the pilots had fallen asleep, but the testimony for now seems to highlight how a series of mundane activities can lead to major distractions, The Journal said.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The U.K.'s largest mortgage lender, Lloyds Banking Group Plc will announce within days a 23 billion pound ($37.5 billion) fundraising plan in a move to boost its balance sheet and repair damage from its takover of rival HBOS, according to London's Sunday Times. The bank plans to ask shareholders to inject about 12 billion pounds through a rights issue, and taxpayers, who own 43% of Lloyds, will have to contribute about 5 billion pounds, the report said, without citing sources. Another 11 billion will come from the issue of new loans to replace existing borrowings, it
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said.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Torchmark Corp. said Friday its board raised the quarterly dividend to 15 cents from 14 cents. The dividend is payable Feb. 1 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 6.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Partners Bank of Naples, Fla. became the 100th bank failure of 2009, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday. The bank, which was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision, had total assets of $65.5 million and total deposits of about $64.9 million. Stonegate Bank of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. will assume all of the deposits and essentially all the assets of the bank. Partners is the seventh bank to fail in Florida this year.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more inf
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ormation on this news.



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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- American United Bank of Lawrenceville, Ga., became the 101st bank failure of the year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Ameris Bank of Moultrie, Ga., to assume all deposits, estimated at $101 million. Ameris will also buy American United's $111 million in assets, and FDIC and Ameris Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on about $92 million of American United assets. The bank is the 20th bank failure of the year in Georgia.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news
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bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Carl Icahn said late Friday he has resigned from the board of directors at Yahoo Inc. , saying that "there was not a need at this time for an activist investor" at the Internet company. Icahn said in a statement that there are other companies that he would rather focus his energies on, and lauded Yahoo's recent signing of a search and advertising partnership with Microsoft Corp. Icahn forced his way onto the board at Yahoo last year, amid widespread dissatisfaction that the company had not accepted an unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft. Market Pulse Stories
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are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Software giant Microsoft Corp. on Friday reported an 18% drop in fiscal first-quarter earnings, but results easily beat Wall Street's forecast and the company's stock surged in premarket action. The Redmond, Wash.-based company said net income slipped to $3.57 billion, or 40 cents a share, from $4.37 billion, or 48 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue fell 14% to $12.92 billion, though the decline was smaller 4% adjusted for the deferral of sales of Microsoft's new Windows 7 software. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had estimated Microsoft would po
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st earnings of 32 cents a share and $12.4 billion in revenue. Tight cost controls contributed to better-than-expected profit, the company said. Shares of Microsoft, which closed Thursday at $26.59, jumped to $28.68 in preopen trades.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Australian stocks moved higher at the open, following a rally on Wall Street and helped by strong sales reported by supermarket operator Wesfarmers Ltd. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 gained 1% to 4,861.7 in early action, while Wesfarmers , which owns the Coles supermarket chain, was up 5.2% after it said comparable sales rose 6.1% in the first quarter. Financials also climbed, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group 1.9% higher and National Australia Bank Ltd. up 1.7%.


Jones] Wesfarmers (WES.AU) surges early after updating market on 1Q trading
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for its key divisions, shares currently up 6.3% at A$28.11. Group's supermarket food and liquor sales at Coles look pretty strong, especially after rival Woolworths (WOW.AU) disappointed the market with its numbers earlier this week. Food and liquor 1Q sales rose 7.3%, or 6.1% on a comparable store basis, outstripping the 5.8% growth in comparable store food and liquor sales reported by WOW. That could indicate Coles is gaining some traction in the market after lagging behind WOW for so long. Kmart and Target sales growth is less impressive but that's unlikely to come as too much of a surprise to investors. Market still watching for any guidance from group on how it expects all-important Christmas trading to pan out. WOW down 4 cents at A$29.37. (LMF)

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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MADRID (MarketWatch) -- Danaher Corp. , which makes commercial, medical and industrial products, on Thursday said third-quarter sales fell 14% to $2.75 billion, from $3.21 billion in the year-ago period. The company reported net earnings of $351 million, or $1.05 a diluted share, against $371 million, or $1.11 a share. A poll of 17 analysts by FactSet Research was expecting the company to earn 85 cents a share. "We were encouraged by the sequential improvement in revenues and our very strong margin and cash-flow performance in the quarter," said H. Lawrence Culp Jr., president and chief execut
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ive offer. "Our focus on capturing market share while also accelerating cost reductions in a difficult economy, coupled with our continued progress in our acquisition efforts, positions us well for the balance of 2009 and beyond."
Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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