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Thursday business briefs

Regulators tell banks to prep

for higher interest rates

Financial regulators told banks Thursday to have procedures in place to minimize their risks from loans when interest rates start to rise. The advisory came from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, which includes the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.Acer recalls several models of

laptops in its Aspire line

Taiwan's Acer Inc. is recalling about 22,000 laptop computers that could overheat and cause burns. Though no injuries have been reported, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that a short circuit in an internal microphone wire under the palm rest has damaged three machines. The recall covers the several models in the Aspire series of notebooks, including the AS3410, AS3410T, AS3810T, AS3810TG, AS3810TZ and AS3810TZG. They were sold in 2009 between June and October. Owners are urged to stop using the computers immediately and call Acer for a free repair.

AstraZeneca makes deal with

Teva on generic Nexium delayBritain's AstraZeneca Plc said Thursday that it reached a deal with the world's biggest generic drugmaker to delay for three years generic competition to its top-selling drug, the extended-release heartburn treatment Nexium. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. of Israel has agreed to keep generic versions of Nexium, the world's third-best-selling drug by revenue, out of the U.S. market until 2014. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal ends a long-running dispute between the two companies.

December retail sales

show signs of life for sector

A firm stand on prices and a surge of last-minute holiday shoppers gave retailers a big present: modest December sales gains and healthy profits. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers sales index, December sales rose 2.8 percent compared with a year ago; sales for the year fell 2 percent from all of 2008.

Job market optimism lift

Dow, S&P to modest gainsCautious optimism about the job market gave stocks a modest lift Thursday. The Dow rose 33.18, or 0.3 percent, to 10,606.86. The S&P 500 index rose 4.55, or 0.4 percent, to 1,141.69. It was the highest close for both indexes since Oct. 1, 2008. The Nasdaq fell 1.04, or 0.1 percent, to 2,300.05.From wire reports

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