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Economy Briefs: American Airlines loses ruling on union election

AIRLINES

DALLAS — A federal appeals court has overturned a judge's ruling that had blocked a union election among nearly 10,000 employees at American Airlines.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Wednesday that the lower court should have left alone a federal panel's decision to order an election by American's passenger-service agents.

The ruling is a victory for the Communications Workers of America, which wants to represent the nonunion workers, and the National Mediation Board, which ordered the election.

American sued the mediation board. It argued that the union didn't gather enough signed cards from employees to qualify for an election under new rules approved by Congress.

ESPIONAGE

11 accused of high-tech smuggling for Russia

NEW YORK — A Kazakhstan-born businessman was charged in New York on Wednesday with being a secret Russian agent involved in a multimillion-dollar scheme to illegally export microelectronics from the United States to Russian military and intelligence agencies.

Alexander Fishenko, 46, was among 11 defendants named in an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn.

Eight of the defendants, including the 46-year-old Mr. Fishenko, were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and were to be arraigned in Houston. Three others were still being sought.

Authorities say the electronics involved have a wide range of military uses, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

T-Mobile USA sets merger with MetroPCS

BERLIN — Struggling cellphone companies T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications are set to merge, in a deal that will create an operator with more than 40 million subscribers.

In a joint statement, the two companies said Wednesday that Deutsche Telekom AG, the owner of T-Mobile USA, will hold 74 percent of the new business, while MetroPCS's shareholders will hold the remainder, as well as receiving a payment of about $1.5 billion.

ECONOMY

U.S. firms added 162K new jobs in September

A private survey shows that U.S. businesses hired fewer workers in September than August, a sign that slow growth may be holding back hiring.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added 162,000 jobs last month. That's below August's total of 189,000, which was revised lower.

The September increase was better than economists had expected and marks the latest in a string of modest hiring gains reported by the survey. Still, the gain isn't enough to significantly push down the unemployment rate, which has been above 8 percent for 31/2 years.

ECONOMY

U.S. service firms grow at fastest pace in 6 months

U.S. service companies, which employ nearly 90 percent of the workforce, grew in September at the fastest pace since March. The growth was driven by sharp increases in current and future sales.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 55.1, up from 53.7 in August. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The report measures growth in a broad range of businesses from retail and construction companies to health-care and financial-services firms.

TECHNOLOGY

HP's Whitman warns profits down in 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — Hewlett-Packard Co. is expecting earnings to fall by more than 10 percent next year as CEO Meg Whitman struggles to fix a wide range of problems in a weakening economy.

Mrs. Whitman delivered the disappointing forecast Wednesday.

Following the remarks, HP's stock price shed $1.19, or 7 percent, to $15.94 in afternoon trading. The sell-off shoved HP's shares to their lowest level in nearly a decade. The stock has fallen by about 30 percent since the former CEO of eBay Inc. took over HP last September.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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