AP Top Business News at 6:20 p.m. EDT

Coal towns hit by layoffs to get job grants from US gov't
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Communities in nine U.S. states that have been hard-hit by coal layoffs are being promised more than 3,000 jobs in several industries through a multimillion-dollar federal grant....

Bankrupt businessman seizes Moscow bank, then surrenders
MOSCOW (AP) -- A man who claimed to have a bomb seized a bank in the center of Moscow and took four people hostage Wednesday evening, but he surrendered peacefully a few hours later, police said....

Sensors, other devices can help prevent hot car deaths
DETROIT (AP) -- Hot cars are a danger to children, particularly in a sweltering summer like this one. There are some devices on the market - built into cars as well as child seats - that can help prevent kids from being left behind....

Jury deliberates case of Russian man charged with hacking
SEATTLE (AP) -- Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker, made millions by hacking into U.S. businesses to steal credit card information and selling that data to other criminals, a federal prosecutor told the jury during his closing argument on Wednesday....

The hidden risk to the economy in corporate balance sheets
NEW YORK (AP) -- America has a debt problem, but it's not what you think....

US home sales fell in July amid inventory shortage
WASHINGTON (AP) -- US homebuyers pulled back in July, as sales declined amid a shortage of available properties and steadily rising prices....

Pfizer on buying spree with AstraZeneca antibiotics deal
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. is continuing its shopping spree with its fourth acquisition since the April collapse of its planned $160 billion megadeal to buy rival Allergan PLC and move its headquarters, on paper, to Allergan's base in lower-tax Ireland....

US Treasury blasts European tax probe of multinationals
U.S. officials are publicly criticizing Europe's investigations into favorable tax arrangements that Apple and other multinational companies have reached with Ireland and a few other countries....

Farm safety top priority with farm tourism on the rise
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- With the growth of agritourism and more people visiting local farms, Connecticut officials are joining other states in educating farmers about how to mitigate health risks for their new visitors....

Dismal time for Gulf oil = record low lease bidding
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The federal government's annual sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico attracted hardly any interest on Wednesday, reflecting a dismal outlook for offshore drilling....

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Business Highlights

Pfizer on buying spree with AstraZeneca antibiotics deal

Express and TurboTax maker Intuit sink on weak forecasts

Few companies, cautious bidding on offshore oil leases

A look at some companies struggling with rising debt

The hidden risk to the economy in corporate balance sheets

Markets Right Now: US stocks close lower

Stocks edge lower as mining and materials companies slip

AstraZeneca to sell antibiotic pills business to Pfizer