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Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade

Asian markets mostly rose while the dollar edged up in holiday-narrowed trade on Friday following a mixed lead from Wall Street and news of a deal between Russia and the West to ease Ukraine tensions. With many bourses closed for the Easter break business was thin at the end of a broadly positive week in Asia, which was helped by bargain buying after the previous week's sell-off. Tokyo rose 0.72 percent, Seoul added 0.58 percent and Taipei gained 0.20 percent but Shanghai was down 0.35 percent.

Apartheid-era abuse lawsuits against Ford, IBM move forward in federal court in New York

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York has given new life to lawsuits that seek to hold IBM and Ford liable for apartheid abuses carried out by South Africa's government. Judge Shira Scheindlin (SHEER'-uh SHIND'-lin) in Manhattan declined to toss out three decade-old lawsuits brought against the IBM Corp. and the Ford Motor Co. that accuse them of supporting apartheid by letting their subsidiaries sell computers and cars to the South African government. The lawsuits seek to hold IBM and Ford responsible for race-based injustices including murder.

Business Highlights

___ China factories face new challenge as growth slows HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese manufacturers are discovering that being an efficient low-cost producer is no longer enough to prosper in the face of the country's slowing growth. Government priorities are changing, labour costs are rising and global demand is still weak. This puts pressure on manufacturers to move into more advanced production, consolidate into bigger entities or shift to cheaper inland regions to survive.

US stocks end mostly higher after earnings deluge

US stocks Thursday finished a holiday-shortened week mostly higher following a plethora of earnings reports that generally met or exceeded expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16.31 points (0.10 percent) to 16,408.54. The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 2.54 (0.14 percent) to 1,864.85, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.29 (0.23 percent) to 4,095.52. Major earnings reports came from a broad of range of companies across finance, consumer goods, industrials and other segments of the economy.

DuPont just shy on first-quarter projections, citing extensive winter storms that culled sales

DOVER, Del. - DuPont's agricultural sales suffered and its operating costs rose during extensive winter storms that dragged on first-quarter earnings, although volumes increased in the company's industrial segments and profit margins improved in almost every one of them.

DuPont expects farm business to pick up after severe winter

By Swetha Gopinath and Kanika Sikka (Reuters) - Chemicals maker DuPont <DD.N> expects its agriculture business to grow this quarter as farmers buy seeds and insecticides after a delayed start to planting season in North America, which hurt the company's revenue in the first quarter. Shares of DuPont, a Dow 30 component, were down about 1 percent at $67.19 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

AmEx profit tops estimates on higher user spending, lower expenses

(Reuters) - American Express Co's <AXP.N> first-quarter profit beat analysts' average estimate as its credit-card customers spent more in a recovering U.S. economy and the company kept expenses in check. The world's biggest credit card issuer's net income rose 12 percent to $1.43 billion, or $1.33 per share, for the quarter ended March 31, from $1.28 billion, or $1.15 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue, net of interest expense, rose 4 percent to $8.20 billion.

Tokyo stocks slip 0.36% by break

Tokyo stocks slipped 0.36 percent Thursday morning, a day after posting its sharpest rise in two months, while analysts said there were lingering concerns about the impact of this month's sales tax rise. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which soared 3.01 percent on Wednesday, lost 51.77 points to 14,365.91 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was down 0.23 percent, or 2.74 points, at 1,163.81.

Home Depot puts a lid on new-store openings: WSJ

(Reuters) - Home Depot Inc <HD.N> is putting a lid on new-store openings and focusing its expansion efforts on e-commerce, which presents some logistical challenges for a retailer that sells a lot of bulky materials, the Wall Street Journal reported. "The retail model forever was to increase sales through opening additional units, but as you added stores to a finite group of households, each store becomes less profitable," Home Depot Chief Executive Frank Blake told the Journal in an interview.

US stocks higher after positive housing, output data

US stocks rose in early trade on Wednesday after positive reports on the housing market and industrial production for March pointed to the economy emerging from bad winter weather. After 50 minutes of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 94.50 points (0.58 percent) at 16,357.06. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 9.10 (0.49 percent) to 1,852.08, while the Nasdaq Composite was the strongest gainer, adding 26.70 (0.66 percent) at 4,060.87.
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