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Off again. On again. Hired. Fired.

   In Business Today:

- As Santander speculation persists, M&Tstock soars - The Buffalo News
   Continuing speculation about a merger between Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest bank, and M&T Mandtbank Bank Corp. sent the Buffalo bank’s stock soaring Thursday.
   Matias Inciarte, a Banco Santander vice chairman, said at a seminar in Spain on Thursday that his bank had made no decision about any combination with M&T.
   That comment sent M&T’s stock up by as much as 11 percent during the day Thursday, to $90.99, before closing at $89, up by 8.6 percent, or $7.07 a share. Similarly, trading in M&T options to buy the stock surged tremendously.
   Santander held talks with M&T about combining its U.S. business, Sovereign Bancorp, with the Buffalo- based lender, as reported last month. But negotiations, which had reportedly reached “advanced stages” after weeks of talks, stalled because of disagreements over who should be in control and concerns about shareholder value.

- Region sees job growth on census hiring - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   The Buffalo Niagara region job market grew for the first time in 17 months during May, thanks to a spurt of temporary hiring by the U.S. Census Bureau.
   But even without the census jobs, the local job market showed signs that it is beginning to stabilize after a prolonged period of painful job losses. Excluding all the federal government job gains over the last year, the region lost only 100 jobs from May 2009 to May 2010 — the local job market’s strongest showing since November 2008.

- Northrop cuts 74 jobs at unit based in Amherst - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Northrop Grumman Corp. said Thursday it will cut 74 jobs at its Amherst Systems division, following a drop in its engineering business and delays in some programs.
   The cuts, announced Wednesday to employees, include 54 positions in Amherst, representing 9 percent of the local work force of about 600. Another 20 will lose jobs in Bethpage, Long Island, where a small operation is being shut down. Remaining work in Bethpage will be moved to Amherst.

   Music to move by:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

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