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Last Update on October 17, 2014 17:22 GMT

EARNS-GE

NEW YORK (AP) -- General Electric says its third quarter profit rose 11 percent.

The company's aviation division, which sells and services aircraft engines and accounts for the biggest share of company profits, performed well as did company's oil and gas division, which makes and services drilling equipment.

GE reported net income of $3.54 billion for the quarter on sales of $36.17 billion. GE's operating earnings rose to 38 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations.

CEO Jeff Immelt says in a statement that the global economic environment is "volatile, but infrastructure growth opportunities exist."

GE shares are up about 3 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

EARNS-MORGAN STANLEY

NEW YORK (AP) -- Morgan Stanley's third-quarter net income nearly doubled.

The investment bank earned more than $1.7 billion. After adjustments, per-share earnings were 65 cents, easily topping Wall Street expectations.

Morgan Stanley had a large increase in pre-tax income for its institutional securities business, which includes the firm's prime brokerage, trading and investment banking divisions. It also had a large increase in its equity underwriting business, which has been helped by initial public offerings, including that of Alibaba, the largest IPO ever including options offered to underwriters. Institutional securities earned $1.2 billion in the quarter, more than three times the earnings in the same period last year.

Wealth management, which includes Morgan Stanley's Smith Barney franchise, reported a pre-tax profit of $836 million, up from $668 million a year ago.

HOME CONSTRUCTION

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Construction firms broke ground on more apartment complexes in September, pushing up the pace of U.S. homebuilding.

The Commerce Department says housing starts rose 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million homes. Most of the gains came from apartment construction, which increased 18.5 percent after plunging in August.

The sluggish recovery and meager wage growth has left more Americans renting, instead of owning homes. Apartment construction has surged 30.3 percent over the past 12 months, although the pace is volatile from month to month.

Starts for single-family houses rose just 1.1 percent in September, contributing to an 11 percent gain during the past 12 months.

Applications for building permits, a good sign of future activity, increased 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.018 million.

OBAMA-FINANCIAL DATA SECURITY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the United States must do more to stop security breaches for credit and debit card users.

Obama says for victims of fraud and identity crimes, it's infuriating and heartbreaking. He says the problem requires a hands-on approach across the government.

Obama is signing an executive order creating a new plan called BuySecure to tighten security for the debit cards that transmit federal benefits like Social Security to millions of Americans. Cards issued by the federal government will now have an internal chip replacing magnetic strips.

Obama says Congress must do its part, too. He wants Congress to pass a single, national standard.

An estimated 100 million people have been affected by breaches in the past year, including at big retailers like Target and Home Depot.

EBOLA DRUG-FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A North Carolina drugmaker plans to test its experimental antiviral drug in patients who have Ebola, after getting authorization from regulators at the Food and Drug Administration.

Chimerix Inc. said Thursday that it has received FDA clearance to proceed with a trial examining the safety and effectiveness of its brincidofovir tablets in patients who have the virus. The company said in a statement that the drug is available for immediate use in testing.

With FDA's permission, the Durham, North Carolina, drugmaker previously made the drug available to the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., who died in Dallas last week.

The FDA does not publicly confirm when it has granted companies permission to begin testing. The agency has not approved any drugs or vaccines to treat Ebola.

YELLEN

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the last several decades have seen the most sustained rise in income inequality in a century.

In a speech to a Boston conference on economic opportunity, Yellen says this problem is of great concern to her and she points to increased education and ownership of small businesses as two ways to deal with the problem.

She says that by some measurements income and wealth inequality are now at their highest levels since the 19th century. She says this is a result of significant income gains at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority of Americans.

In her remarks, Yellen made no comments on the current state of the economy or on the future course of interest rates.

MICROSOFT-MEMO

NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft's CEO is continuing to try to repair damage caused by his gaffe last week at a women-in-computing conference. CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday sent a memo to staff saying all employees at Microsoft will receive expanded training on how to foster an inclusive culture.

In his memo, Nadella also said the company must not only focus on equal pay for equal work, but the opportunity to do equal work. He added that Microsoft needs to recruit more diverse talent.

Nadella was widely criticized after suggesting that women don't need to ask for raises and should just "trust" the system to pay them what they're worth. He later apologized in a tweet and then formally retracted his statements on the company's website.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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