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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

October 19, 2012, 1:26 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief
  • Poor earnings reports from three companies in the Dow Jones industrial average - Microsoft, General Electric and McDonalds - sent indexes down sharply today, marking a sour end to an otherwise strong week in the stock market. The Dow had lost more than 200 points in early afternoon trading.
  • Unemployment rates fell or held steady last month in nine key swing states at the center of this year's presidential election. Rates dropped in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina. They were unchanged in New Hampshire and Virginia.
  • Twitter has agreed to pull racist and anti-Semitic tweets under a pair of French hash tags after a Jewish group threatened to sue the social network for running afoul of national laws against hate speech. The decision comes a day after Twitter bowed to German law and blocked an account of a banned neo-Nazi group there.
  • TransCanada has reaffirmed its plan to restart the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the Midwest tomorrow, although rainy weather is hampering the company's on-site work. TransCanada shut down the 2,100-mile pipeline Wednesday after tests showed possible safety issues. A company spokesman says no leaks have been detected.
  • An Amtrak passenger train on a test run reached a speed of 110 mph for the first time in Illinois. The 30-mph increase from the route's current top speed is a morale booster for advocates of high-speed rail. But some rail experts question whether the route will become profitable.

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