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WALL STREET

Stocks recover after a two-day slump

NEW YORK — Stock indexes closed with broad gains Wednesday as international leaders scramble to save a week-old plan to prevent a financial crisis in Europe. Strong corporate earnings and a bump up in hiring by private companies also helped send markets higher after a steep two-day drop.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 178.08 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 11,836.04. The Dow lost 573 points the previous two days after the brokerage MF Global collapsed and Greece’s prime minister surprised markets and his own government with a call to put unpopular austerity measures to a public vote.

STUDENT LOANS

Debt was up again for college class of 2010

Members of the college class of 2010 who took out student loans owed on average $25,250 upon graduation, a 5 percent increase from the year before, according to a new analysis released Thursday.

The figures, compiled using college survey data by the Project on Student Debt, indicate average indebtedness increasing at about the same annual rate as in the last five years, but still give a fresh snapshot of what many advocates and experts call an alarming reliance on borrowed money to pay for college.

Roughly two-thirds of the class of 2010 borrowed for college, and they were hit especially hard because the unemployment rate for new college graduates stood at 9.1 percent the year they graduated, though that’s less than half the rate for counterparts who only have a high school degree.

LABOR

Unemployment falls in most U.S. cities

Unemployment rates fell in about three-quarters of large U.S. cities in September, a sign that the nation’s modest job gains that month occurred across most of the country.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates fell in 280 large metro areas from August to September. They rose in 61 and were unchanged in 31. That’s the largest number of cities to see a decline since April.

Nationwide, employers added a net 103,000 jobs in September. And the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent for the third straight month. The job gains were only about enough to keep up with population growth. The economy needs to generate at least twice September’s total to reduce the unemployment rate.

BANKRUPTCY

Syms, Filene’s unit seek protection

NEW YORK — Discount retailer Syms Corp. and its subsidiary Filene’s Basement have filed for bankruptcy protection and plan to close all 46 of their stores.

Syms acquired Filene’s Basement out of bankruptcy protection in the spring of 2009 for $62.4 million, but struggled to turn the chain around. This is the third bankruptcy protection involving the Filene’s Basement chain.

Syms and Filene’s Basement stores are located mostly in the Eastern U.S. and employ about 2,450 people, the company said.

CEO Marcy Syms said in statement the two discount chains were burdened by increasing competition from department stores offering the same brands at similar discounts and by a rise in the number of private label discounters. She also said there was less overstock for her company to buy as businesses continue to manage their inventory carefully during the tough economy.

TECHNOLOGY

Yahoo hopes to reach readers with iPad magazine

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Yahoo is joining the computer tablet bandwagon with a digital magazine designed for the iPad.

The magazine software unveiled Wednesday is called Livestand. It can be customized to pull content from Yahoo’s website and other participating publishers to cater to each user’s interest.

Yahoo Inc. is counting on Livestand to keep its brand and services relevant as more people embrace Apple Inc.’s iPad and other mobile devices to consume digital content. Yahoo also hopes the magazine brings in more advertising revenue as it tries to break out of a long-running financial funk.

The slump has frustrated investors and thrown Yahoo’s fate into doubt.

Livestand is debuting nearly nine months after Yahoo first previewed it. At that time, Yahoo hoped to introduce Livestand by the end of June.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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