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October 31, 2013 01:58 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have been mixed on Wall Street most of the day, which puts the market on track to finish October with a big gain. The Dow, the S&P and the Nasdaq all have moved into positive territory in afternoon trading, though the gains have been modest. The S&P 500 is up nearly 5 percent for the month.

  • Montana and federal officials want compensation from Exxon Mobil for damages caused by a crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River two years ago. More than 70 miles of riverbank were contaminated when an Exxon pipeline broke during flooding and released 63,000 gallons of oil. Exxon has already paid $1.6 million in state pollution fines and faces another $1.7 million penalty from federal pipeline safety regulators who say Exxon's failure to quickly shut down the broken line made the spill worse.
  • Jos. A. Bank says it will consider boosting its $2.3 billion buyout bid for Men's Wearhouse, but that it will drop its offer in two weeks if there are no discussions on the proposal. Jos. A. Bank made an unsolicited offer of $48 per share for Men's Wearhouse in September. Men's Wearhouse rejected the bid, calling it "inadequate," and its board has refused to talk.
  • Tiffany says a Florida court has awarded it $2.2 million in damages from defendants who sold counterfeit Tiffany jewelry online. The company says the court ordered 78 defendants to pay damages and transfer their domain names to Tiffany. The websites had names like and intended to trick consumers into thinking they were buying Tiffany & Co. jewelry.
  • Kraft is removing artificial dyes from three macaroni and cheese varieties. The new recipes will be for varieties that come in child-friendly shapes, including SpongeBob Squarepants. Kraft says it's looking to improve the nutritional profiles of the product and the artificial dyes will be replaced with spices such as paprika for coloring. An online petition asking Kraft to make such a change has collected nearly 350,000 signatures since being posted in March.
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  • Economy/Stocks