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CONSUMERS

Borrowing increasing as economy improves

Americans stepped up their borrowing in October to buy cars and attend college, and they also charged a little more to their credit cards. The second straight monthly gain in overall borrowing suggests consumers are growing more confident in the economy ahead of the crucial holiday buying season.

The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose by $7.3 billion. September and October’s gains reversed a steep drop in borrowing from August, when it fell by the most in 16 months.

The October increase reflected a 5.3 percent increase in borrowing in the category that includes car and student loans. The category that covers credit card purchases rose 0.6 percent, which matched September’s gain after a revision.

EUROPE

Eurozone banks on watch for downgrade

PARIS | Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday put a number of large European banks on review for a possible downgrade after earlier this week putting the credit ratings of eurozone states on notice.

Among those listed for possible downgrade were French banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank of Germany, and Italy’s UniCredit.

S&P said further banks would be put on notice for possible downgrade.

As bank ratings are linked to ratings of their home countries, the move was expected after S&P on Monday put 15 eurozone members on review for downgrades over the debt crisis.