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Fed finds slowdown everywhere

WASHINGTON (AP) -- No region of the country has escaped the economic fallout from the terrorist attacks, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

Analysts said the Fed's new assessment of business conditions around the country increased the likelihood that the central bank will cut interest rates for a tenth time this year when its policy-makers meet on Nov. 6.

Releasing its latest "Beige Book" survey, compiled from reports from its 12 regional banks, the Fed said that the Sept. 11 attacks had depressed consumer spending, forced cancellation of orders to manufacturing companies and caused widespread layoffs across a variety of industries.

Goodrich cutting 2,400 jobs

CHARLOTTE (Bloomberg) -- Goodrich Corp., the largest U.S. maker of aircraft landing gear, will fire 2,400 employees, or 10 percent of its work force, and close 16 plants as airlines reduce flights and planemakers slash production.

Profit will be less than forecast next year and sales are expected to fall by as much as 10 percent, Goodrich said in a statement. Profit excluding some items will be $3 to $3.10 a share this year, less than the $3.12-average forecast of analysts.

Jobless claims up 8,000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the second-highest level in nearly a decade. Wages and benefits increased by 1 percent during the July-September quarter, the government said today.

The Labor Department reported that newly laid-off Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 8,000 last week to 504,000, a level generally associated with recessions, as the shocks from the Sept. 11 attacks continued to take a toll on the U.S. economy.

The department also reported that workers' wages and benefits climbed by 1 percent for the three months ending in September.

Oneida projects lower profits

ONEIDA (Bloomberg) -- Oneida Ltd., which owns Buffalo China, said third-quarter profit will be lower than expected as airlines, restaurants and hotels cut orders for its food services and retail sales fell.

The flatware and pottery maker expects to earn 1 cent to 3 cents a share in the quarter that ends Saturday on sales of $125 million. The company said it has eliminated more than 100 non-manufacturing positions and reduced hours in its Sherrill and Buffalo facilities.

PSC approves N-plant sale

SYRACUSE (AP) -- The state Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved the sale of the two Nine Mile Point nuclear plants on Lake Ontario to Maryland-based Constellation Nuclear for $780 million.

Constellation agreed to pay $221 million for Niagara Mohawk's 32-year-old, 609-megawatt Unit 1 reactor, which is licensed to run until 2009.

The Baltimore-based company also will pay $559 million to Niagara Mohawk, Rochester Gas & Electric, New York State Electric & Gas, and Central Hudson Gas & Electric, for their 82 percent stake in the 13-year-old, 1,148-megawatt Unit 2 plant, which can operate until 2028.

GM recalls minivans

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp. on Wednesday recalled about 314,000 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile minivans from the 1997 to 2001 model years with power sliding doors because a switch may let the doors open when the vehicle is moving.

The latest recall of the largest automaker's Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Trans Sport and Montana, and Oldsmobile Silhouette models includes 276,000 vehicles called back in April, General Motors spokesman Mike Morrissey said. No accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of the problem, he said.

In other business news

U.S. sales of previously owned homes plunged in September from a record high, as the shock of terrorist attacks caused buyers to put off home purchases. Home resales dropped 11.7 percent last month to an annual pace of 4.89 million units from a 5.54 million-unit rate in August, the National Association of Realtors said.

Yields on two-year Treasury notes fell in Wednesday's auction to 2.770 percent, down from 2.869 percent at the last auction on Sept. 26. It was the lowest rate since the government began selling two-year notes on a regular basis in 1972. The notes will carry a coupon interest rate of 2 3/4 percent with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,996.10.

Eli Lilly and Co. plans to add 5,000 sales representatives over the next three years to market new drugs awaiting federal approval.

Bank of America Corp. said it plans to cut 600 global corporate and investment banking jobs, or nearly 8 percent of the unit's total work force, in response to a drop-off in commerce connected to financial markets.

The Walt Disney Co. completed its purchase of Fox Family Worldwide Inc. for $5.2 billion -- about $100 million less than the original purchase price announced in July.

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