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AP Top Business News At 3:44 p.m. EDT

US stocks jump following strong corporate earnings
NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks rose sharply in afternoon trading Thursday, driven by encouraging earnings from companies including Caterpillar and 3M. Investors were also encouraged by some positive manufacturing news out of Europe....

Senators ask gov't for nationwide air bag recall
DETROIT (AP) -- Two U.S. senators are calling on regulators to issue a nationwide recall of cars with faulty air bags made by Takata Corp., questioning why automakers have been allowed to limit recalls to only certain locations with high humidity....

GM 3Q profit nearly doubles, led by N. America
DETROIT (AP) -- Big profits from rising SUV and truck sales in North America helped General Motors nearly double its third-quarter net profit and more than offset its struggles in Europe and South America....

Fuel costs ease, US airline profits soar
DALLAS (AP) -- Profits are soaring at the biggest U.S. airlines as fuel prices drop - but don't expect fares to fall too....

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese, Beijing students cheer
BEIJING (AP) -- China may ban Facebook, but not its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The young billionaire delighted an audience of students at a prestigious Beijing university this week with a 30-minute chat in his recently learned Mandarin Chinese....

European authorities aim to purge weak banks
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Europe's biggest banks are facing a day of judgment as the European Central Bank prepares to unveil the results of a yearlong search through the dark corners of their finances....

Eurozone survey rise does not ease recession fears
LONDON (AP) -- A stronger than anticipated economic survey Thursday failed to inspire much optimism that the recovery in the 18-country eurozone and of France in particular would be anything but muted....

Report: Total CEO's plane almost escaped crash
MOSCOW (AP) -- The plane carrying a top French oil executive and a crew of three was already in the air when it grazed a snowplow, just failing to avoid the fatal crash, Russian crash investigators said Thursday....

HealthCare.gov's EZ form not for legal immigrants
WASHINGTON (AP) -- HealthCare.gov's simpler online application is being touted as a big win for consumers. But it can't be used by legal immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens, who represent millions of potential new health insurance customers....

Coal-rich Poland ready to block EU climate deal
WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- European Union leaders meeting in Brussels to set their new greenhouse gas emissions plan are facing staunch opposition from coal-reliant Poland and other East European countries who say their economies would suffer from the new target....

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Fuel costs ease, US airline profits soar

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Union Pacific 3Q profit chugs ahead 19 percent

Eurozone survey rise does not ease recession fears

Senators ask gov't for nationwide air bag recall

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Coke names new marketing chief amid struggles

Gauge of US economy posts solid 0.8 percent gain