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LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Brazil's central bank late Wednesday kept its key interest rate unchanged at the historically low level of 8.75%, in line with market expectations. The vote was unanimous, according to a statement on the central bank's Web site. The key rate was also left unchanged at the policymakers' meeting in September. The central bank said in Wednesday's statement that the reference rate is consistent with an outlook of benign inflation levels. The rate has been cut by 500 basis points this year in response to the global financial crisis. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire,
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short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The British pound extended gains Wednesday after minutes of the Bank of England's Oct. 7-8 policy meeting showed members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted 9-0 to leave the bank's asset-purchase plan unchanged at 175 billion pounds. Members said they would await the November inflation report to more fully assess changes in the outlook for inflation and economic activity. The pound traded at $1.6555 versus the U.S. dollar in recent action, up 1% on the day. The euro fell 0.9% versus sterling to 90.30 pence. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on st
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ocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



5
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Pershing Square hedge fund manager Bill Ackman highlighted prison operator Corrections Corp. as one of the best real-estate businesses around, during a presentation at the Value Investing Congress in New York on Tuesday. The government is a major customer and there is strong demand for prison space and limited supply, Ackman explained. "It's also a hedge against your hedge fund business, because as the SEC ramps up..." Ackman said, prompting laughter at the conference. "We shouldn't joke about that," he added. Ackman also said he was shorting Realty Income , ano
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ther real-estate business. That short position, combined with a long position in Corrections Corp. makes a good pairs trade, although Pershing Square did not structure its positions that way initially, Ackman explained.


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.



56
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Yara International ASA , an Oslo-based producer of fertilizers and other chemicals, reported Tuesday its third-quarter net income fell 89% to 349 million Norwegian kroner (about $62.7 million) from 3.18 billion kroner a year ago. "Our third-quarter results were non-satisfactory, mainly due to NPK [nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium] sales being hampered by high potash prices," said Jørgen Ole Haslestad, president and chief executive of Yara. "However, fertilizer sales are picking up as pipeline effects come to an end and food demand growth remains robust." Third-qua
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rter fertilizer deliveries were up 10% on last year, the company said. Yara also said its European energy costs are estimated to be 1.2 billion kroner lower in the fourth quarter compared with last year. 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) -- Gold rose on Monday, receiving a lift as expectations that U.S. interest rates will stay near zero for the foreseeable future kept the dollar under pressure, and as crude-oil futures tested new highs for the year above $79 a barrel. December gold, the most actively traded contract, rose $6.60, or 0.6%, to end at $1,058.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Among other metals, copper for December delivery rallied 13 cents, or 4.5%, to end at $2.97 a pound, after China pegged growth in the third quarter at 9%, up from growth of 7.9% in t
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he second quarter. 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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HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Lotte Shopping Co. fell as much as 4.1% Monday in Seoul, as the company was reportedly set to launch a bid to buy a controlling stake in Chinese supermarket operator Times Ltd. . Seoul-based Lotte will pay up to $635 million to acquire a 72.3% stake in Hong Kong-listed Times from Kenneth Fang, the company's majority shareholder and chairman, according to reports citing people familiar with the situation. Lotte Shopping's board has already approved the deal, and the takeover could be announced by Times as early as Monday, the reports said.Market Pulse Storie
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s 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) -- Biogen Idec Inc. said late Friday it will extend its tender offer for outstanding Facet Biotech Corp. shares by about three months. Biogen said it will offer $14.50 a share in cash for outstanding Facet shares until Dec. 16. The original tender offer valuing Facet at about $340 million was set to expire Oct. 19. Facet has about 23 million shares outstanding, and Biogen said it has tendered about 28,000 shares as of Oct. 15. Biogen originally made the hostile bid in early September and Facet has repeatedly spurned the offer, telling shareholders to reject it.Mar
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ket 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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BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer told reporters Friday that his company's proposed partnership with Yahoo Inc. was facing some regulatory snags in Europe over jurisdictional issues. "It's going along," said Ballmer, when asked how he felt the overall approval process was proceeding. "Europe's a little confusing because the Europeans have to decide which jurisdiction, whether it's the European Commission or some of the national competition authorities," will have final say over the deal, Ballmer added. Microsoft and Yahoo have proposed partnering o
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n Internet search and advertising services in an effort to grab market share from sector giant Google Inc. , but the deal must first be approved by U.S. and foreign antitrust regulators. 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) -- American International Group Inc. and former chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg are in advanced talks to settle their various legal disputes, The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday on its Web site. Part of ther settlement could include AIG, which is majority-owned by the government, paying for a settlement between Greenberg and the New York Attorney General's Office, according to the Journal, citing sources close to the matter.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) -- Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. , was sentenced to pay the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States, the Department of Justice said late Friday. Pharmacia & Upjohn must pay a criminal fine of just under $1.2 billion and a criminal forfeiture of $105 million for misbranding the pain medication Bextra. In early September, Pfizer said the unit would plead guilty to one count of violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with regards to drug marketing, and finalized a $2.3 billion settlement that would also cover civil charges.Marke
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t 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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