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US stocks rally again, but finish October with steep losses

NEW YORK — Stocks climbed for the second day in a row Wednesday at the end of a brutal month for the global market. Investors applauded strong quarterly results from companies including Facebook and General Motors, but U.S. stocks still finished with their worst monthly loss in seven years. Bond prices fell, sending yields lower.

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GM offers buyouts to 18K workers after posting strong profit

DETROIT — As General Motors reported a healthy $2.5 billion third-quarter profit, the Detroit automaker ramped up its cost-cutting efforts by offering buyouts to 18,000 white-collar workers. The company, while acknowledging it’s in good shape now, said Wednesday it needs to be smaller to prepare for tougher times that might be ahead as it continues to get ready for a future of electric and autonomous vehicles.

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US companies hiring at robust pace, wages rise faster

WASHINGTON — U.S. companies added 227,000 jobs in October, a private survey found, a healthy gain that suggests companies are still finding workers to hire even as the unemployment rate has fallen to a 49-year low. Payroll processor ADP says that employers added jobs in manufacturing, retail, and professional services such as engineering.

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Fed proposes easing capital rules, testing of some big banks

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is proposing to ease requirements for holding capital and cash for U.S. banks that are big but smaller than the Wall Street mega-banks. The Fed’s proposal is the latest move by federal regulators to relax government oversight of financial firms in line with President Donald Trump’s objectives. The Fed governors also are looking to ease the schedule for the agency’s “stress tests” for banks, based on their size and risk.

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Gone to pot: Marijuana shortages plague Canada

TORONTO — Canada’s legal recreational market is off to a bumpy start. Supply shortages have been rampant in the two weeks since Canada became the largest national pot marketplace. Quebec closed its government-run shops from Monday to Wednesday because there was no pot to sell. The Canadian government has added 300 people to more quickly process licenses for producers.

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L.L. Bean looks to northern neighbor to boost sales

FREEPORT, Maine — L.L. Bean is looking to the north — to Canada — to boost sales. The outdoors gear retailer has signed an agreement in which its products will be sold in 30 stores in Canada for the holiday season, and in L.L. Bean-branded stores opening over the next decade. The company also has launched a dedicated Canadian website that incorporates duties and smooths out currency fluctuations.

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Facebook caught in an election-security Catch-22

NEW YORK — When it comes to dealing with hate speech and attempted election manipulation, Facebook just can’t win. If it takes a hands-off attitude, it takes the blame for undermining democracy and letting civil society unravel. That dynamic was on display in Facebook’s earnings report Tuesday.

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Small businesses seeking seasonal help need to get creative

NEW YORK — Small businesses are having a harder time finding holiday staffers this year as they compete with big players like Amazon for a shrinking labor pool. Human resources consultants say owners need to get creative in where they look for help, and what they offer prospective hires. For example: Recruit from groups who aren’t working, like retirees, or who work off-hours, like bartenders. Be generous with hiring bonuses. And consider giving seasonal staffers benefits like paid time off.

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US steps up scrutiny of funds for asbestos exposure victims

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has stepped up scrutiny of trust funds for victims of asbestos exposure. The Justice Department is demanding documents for a civil investigation and injecting itself into corporate bankruptcy cases. The actions take aim at a system that compensates the sick but that critics say is opaque, prone to fraud and manipulation. The government’s intervention aligns it with business groups who complain about the process and could result in closer oversight.

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Justices weigh $8.5M settlement with $0 to 129M Google users

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is struggling over what to do about an $8.5 million class-action settlement involving Google and privacy concerns in which all the money went to lawyers and nonprofit groups and nothing was paid to 129 million people who used Google to perform internet searches. The justices on Wednesday considered objections to the settlement in a case involving Google searches people do about themselves.

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The S&P 500 index rose 29.11 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,711.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 241.12 points, or 1 percent, to 25,115.76. The Nasdaq composite jumped 144.25 points, or 2 percent, to 7,305.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies edged up 4.78 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,511.41.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1.3 percent to $65.31 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 0.6 percent to $75.47 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 2.1 percent to $1.77 a gallon. Heating oil edged up 0.1 percent to $2.26 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2.3 percent to $3.26 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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