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October 24, 2014

U.S. girls

Filed under: Canada, loans — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:36 am

PARIS—The teenage sisters told their father they were staying home sick from their suburban Denver school. Instead, they took $2,000 and their passports and headed off for Syria with a 16-year-old friend. They made it as far as Germany before border guards detained them for questioning.

Related: IS militants luring Western women as wives

The fact that adolescent girls could make their way across the Atlantic might come as a surprise to many parents, but a patchwork of laws and rules governing international air travel in many cases makes it easy for teenagers to travel with nobody’s permission but their own.

Airlines have a range of rules governing minors’ travel: Many major carriers including United Airlines and Scandinavian airline SAS place no restrictions on children over 12, while others let even young minors travel as long as they are accompanied by someone over 16. Yet others, including American Airlines, require a parent to accompany travellers under the age of 15 to the gate, while those 15 and over face no restrictions.

Countries have a separate set of laws that is no less haphazard, from a Russian requirement for notarized parental permission to the U.S. system where adolescents with valid passports are free to come and go.

In Spain, both parents must fill out a permission form at a police station before a minor can travel alone. In Germany, where the American teens were stopped, border guards are required to verify that minors have parental permission to travel.

And in France, which is Europe’s single largest source of would-be jihadis, parental authorization had to be received by city hall — until January 2013.

That’s when a small administrative change took effect suspending the requirement for parental approval. The government said it would streamline unnecessary bureaucracy and officials remarked that few runaways went abroad, and even fewer stayed there.

Fast-forward 22 months, and nearly every week new reports emerge of French adolescents leaving for Syria. Teenagers from France can travel within the European Union with a valid ID; outside the EU, they need only a passport.

Under French law, parents can have their children flagged if they fear they will leave the country to join extremists. But for many of those who have left, their families had no warning.

Lawyer Agnes Dufetel-Cordier represents a teenage boy from Toulouse who left in January to join the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, before coming back to his family to face criminal charges. She said the teen — now 16 — gave no sign he was about to bolt for Syria, and his departure came as a shock to his parents. He was not stopped at the airport in Marseille, nor on arrival in Turkey or crossing into Syria.

“If you reverse the regulation that lets them travel without their parents’ permission, you will see right away that minors are no longer leaving,” Dufetel-Cordier said. “Today in France, in the case of most minors who go to Syria, the families have absolutely no idea ahead of time.”

At age 17, Sahra Ali Mehenni went so far as to ask her mother to get her a passport, saying she wanted her paperwork in order before she reached adulthood. When she left for Syria on March 11, departing from the Marseille airport just as the teen boy did, she took her burgundy-bound passport and nobody stopped her before she boarded the flight to Istanbul.

“If I go out and I run a red light, they’re going to get me right away,” said her father, Kamel. “But these minors are going to Istanbul — and if they’re going to Istanbul, it’s to go to Syria. They know it. You can’t say they don’t know it. And no one stops it.”

The same concerns apply in the United States, where parental permission is required to obtain a passport — but none is needed for travel.

The teens who flew to Germany were stopped because their parents, part of suburban Denver’s tight-knit East African community, reported them missing quickly, and American authorities contacted German authorities before they landed.

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October 22, 2014

Doug Ford promises to cut the land transfer tax

Filed under: management, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 11:24 am

Despite repeated mistruths and promises to cut taxes his competitors call irresponsible, Doug Ford (open Doug Ford’s policard) was celebrated at a debate hosted by realtors on Tuesday.

Ford’s defining salvo Tuesday morning at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke in front of members of the Toronto Real Estate Board was pushing a platform promise to cut the land transfer tax, which he introduced earlier this month in his bid to replace his ailing brother as mayor.

“We will make sure that we eliminate, right off the hop, 15 per cent of the land transfer tax,” Ford said. “A lot of my friends here want to tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend. I don’t believe in taxing and spending. I believe in saving and putting money back into the peoples’ pocket of this great city.”

Ford has previously promised he would cut up to 60 per cent over four years.

Cutting the land transfer tax was a promise made by his brother Rob Ford (open Rob Ford’s policard) four years ago. But the Fords were not able to scrap the tax without the support of council. During last year’s budget process, city manager Joe Pennachetti said the tax has allowed the city to balance the budget for the past three years.

After the debate, Chow told reporters that Ford’s promise could cost an increase in property taxes by 10 to 15 per cent. She said that would be “unacceptable.”

During the debate, she defended her position to keep the tax despite loud booing from the crowd.

“I’m just being upfront,” she said payday loan. “It’s $300 million and every $25 million is a 1 per cent property tax increase. What you do if we are to reduce the $300 million in revenue, the city’s property tax will dramatically increase and we cannot allow that to happen.”

Tory, who also found support with the realtor crowd despite arguing to keep the tax, said the Ford’s did not deliver on the promise they made four years ago. He said the revenue is needed for big budget items like public transit.

“I don’t believe you can start doing away with taxes of any kind before you spell out where you’re going to get the money from to replace it,” Tory said during the debate. “When he was told he couldn’t four years ago, in fact, he and his administration didn’t and that’s because it wasn’t realistic then and it isn’t realistic now. I wish I could tell you what you wanted to hear.”

In 2013, the land transfer tax brought in $357 million. With the cuts Ford is proposing, he would need to make up $214 million in revenue. He has previously said that at least $90 million would come from outsourcing garbage in the east end and at least $50 million in other efficiencies. But that still leaves the city at least $50 million short.

Earlier in the campaign, a joint press release with TREB said Ford would be meeting with the board to discuss the tax.

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October 20, 2014

Germany, France to draw up investment plans

Filed under: Uncategorized, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 8:52 pm

BERLIN (AP) — Germany and France agreed Monday to draw up proposals by the beginning of December to boost investment as they try to come up with a strategy that will help shore up the European economic recovery.

Though the decision to come up with an investment plan shows the two countries trying to work together closely, the divide between Berlin and Paris on economic matters is wide.

The German government has faced pressure from abroad to pump more money into the economy to help bolster both its and Europe’s recovery. However, it appears determined to stick to plans to halt new borrowing next year for the first time since 1969.

France, meanwhile, is under pressure to get its finances in order after admitting that its 2015 budget would break promises to bring its deficit below the European Union limit of 3 percent of its annual gross domestic product within two years.

“We are determined to do everything together to strengthen investment in our countries — we will do that in the framework of the different capacities we have to act,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after he, and Germany’s economy minister met their French counterparts.

A plan to be drawn up over the coming weeks will likely include investment proposals for Germany and France, as well as possible joint projects and “common ideas for European projects,” French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said check cash advance.

The German ministers stressed the importance of stimulating private investment, rather than boosting government borrowing.

Ahead of his visit, Macron was quoted by a German newspaper as suggesting that Berlin should raise investment by 50 billion euros ($63.8 billion) over the next three years while Paris cuts spending by the same amount. Macron said Monday he “didn’t demand anything” but noted that “Germany has a greater capacity than us to make investments.”

The European Union executive will decide over the coming weeks whether to force member countries to revise their budgets. German weekly Der Spiegel reported Monday, without citing sources, that Germany could oppose such a move against France if Paris commits to a specific timetable for reforms.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin insisted that “there is no pact and we are not looking for a pact” on the budget issue, and that Paris doesn’t want any change to budget rules.

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October 19, 2014

Jeffrey Baldwin memorial unveiled in Greenwood Park

Filed under: marketing, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 5:20 am

Jeffrey Baldwin, dressed as Superman, was among his fellow children in spirit on Saturday, as hundreds gathered in Greenwood Park for the unveiling of a bronze statue and bench in the young abuse victim’s honour.

It was a scene quite unlike the sadness of his short life.

Twelve years ago, the 5-year-old Toronto boy died of starvation — he weighed only 21 pounds at his death — at the hands of his grandparents, Norman Kidman and Elva Bottineau. The pair were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

“There’s so much support and compassion for Jeffrey,” said an emotional Todd Boyce, the Ottawa father who spearheaded online fundraising efforts that raised more than $36,000 for the memorial. “So much that he didn’t have in his life, but he has it now.”

Jeffrey had been placed in the care of his grandparents by the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. Both Kidman and Bottineau had separate convictions for assault on their own children, but the organization wasn’t aware of that until after Baldwin’s death.

Councillor Paula Fletcher (open Paula Fletcher’s policard), who represents the neighbourhood where Jeffrey lived, just a short distance from Greenwood Park, said the memorial will be part of the city’s public art collection.

“Whenever you’re skating, whenever you’re rollerblading, whenever you’re walking through, there’s a bench to sit on and just have a moment with Jeffrey in Greenwood Park,” she said.

Donors for Boyce’s memorial initiative came from within the local community and around the world — from as far as Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, Boyce said. “I think it’s a testament to the human spirit, really, that so many people, total strangers, were able to reach out and donate.”

In Saturday’s brisk autumn air, numerous children crowded around the sculpture and climbed atop the bench after the memorial was unveiled.

“I’m happy to see that Jeffrey’s going to be able to overlook the park for a very long time and see the children play,” said Boyce, his voice wavering.

Media reports after Jeffrey’s death struck a chord with Boyce, who has no direct connection to the young murder victim. Boyce said his 8-year-old son, Cole, shares Jeffrey’s birthday, Jan. 20.

“I can’t imagine my children suffering in any way close to what Jeffrey had to go through for so long,” Boyce said. “It just breaks my heart.”

Belynda Blyth, co-chair of Friends of Greenwood Park — a group that supported Boyce’s efforts to erect the memorial — said she carries “a weight” after living across the street from Jeffrey during part of his short life payday advance.

“I’m the kind of person that would’ve banged down that door and taken him away,” she said. “But I was completely unaware. I had no idea.”

While the artwork immortalizes Jeffrey, Boyce said it serves a dual purpose. “It’s also to remind people that child abuse does happen, and if they’re not vigilant reporting the signs of it, then this tragedy could repeat itself,” he explained.

The sculpture of Jeffrey, placed prominently in a main gathering point in the park, was designed by noted Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.

She said the process of designing the sculpture, based on just a few photographs available of Jeffrey, took several months. It was then sent to a foundry to be encased in bronze on the bench.

“I wanted him to be eye level, to encounter the adults that pause for a moment. And then the kids standing on the bench can meet him at eye level as well,” Abernethy said. “One day they’ll be standing on the ground as adults, doing that face-to-face, recommitting to how hard it is to be a parent — and face-to-face with how much it matters. How much good parenting matters; there are no words.”

Jeffrey was, “for such a long time, made to feel unloved and worthless,” Boyce said. “That’s something no child should have to go through.”

The new bench and sculpture join an earlier memorial elsewhere in the park, which included a tree planted in Jeffrey’s honour. The original tree was broken, likely by vandals, last December, but a newer one stands in its place.

The statue’s design hit a roadblock earlier this year when DC initially refused to grant permission for usage of the Superman logo’s stylized S. Jeffrey Baldwin’s father, Richard Baldwin, told last year’s coroner’s inquest how his son was “so excited” to go as Superman for Halloween one year. DC later gave Boyce and Abernethy the green light to use the iconic crest.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has previously been criticized for not seeking standing at that 2013-2014 coroner’s inquest into Jeffrey’s death, despite the fact that it is ultimately responsible for investigating child abuse in Ontario.

The ministry recently redacted large sections of a document detailing how it planned to handle the fallout from that inquest, but the Star has appealed that decision to the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

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October 17, 2014

Rob Ford asked to leave polling station after illegal campaigning

Filed under: economics, management — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:24 pm

Rob Ford (open Rob Ford’s policard) was asked to leave an advance polling station outside his own ward on Thursday after apparently campaigning illegally on the voting site.

The Star was given an account of the incident by a witness who asked to remain anonymous. The city confirmed most of that account.

Ford could not immediately be reached for comment.

In an email, the witness said Ford, who is running for a council seat in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, was inside Driftwood Community Centre near Jane St. and Driftwood Ave. around 3:30 p.m. while the advance poll was taking place.

A photo appears to show Ford, wearing a pinstriped suit, inside the centre just outside the room where voting was taking place. A yellow sign marking the voting place can be seen behind him.

The witness said Ford had to be escorted from the building by city security, where he “continued persuading members of the public to vote” as he lingered in the parking lot outside.

City spokesperson Leisa Odlum confirmed Ford was at the community centre Thursday and was asked to leave, but said Ford left on his own and was not escorted from the polling station.

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“Staff at the voting location advised him that campaigning is not permitted anywhere within the designated voting place. Our understanding is that once he was advised of this, he left the voting location,” she said in an email payday loans lenders.

Odlum said Ford “was speaking with electors and having photos taken. Staff at the location advised him that it was not permitted anywhere within the designated voting location.”

Campaigning of any kind is not allowed at voting locations, as set out by Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act. It prohibits campaigning inside the building and also on the property where the building is located.

The Act says: “While an elector is in a voting place, no person shall attempt, directly or indirectly, to influence how the elector votes.”

It’s not clear why Ford was at the location Thursday.

Though also in the northwest end of the city, the Driftwood Community Centre is some distance from the Etobicoke ward where Ford is running to be councillor — separated by another ward.

Ford’s brother, Doug Ford (open Doug Ford’s policard), who replaced him in the race for mayor last month when Rob was diagnosed with a rare cancer, was campaigning downtown on Spadina Ave. on Thursday afternoon.

More: Advance poll turnout in Toronto sets a first-day record

Rob Ford, even in a hospital bed, surges in Ward 2 poll

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October 15, 2014

HBO unleashes streaming from cable contracts

Filed under: Uncategorized, money — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 11:28 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — No cable? No problem.

Viewers longing to watch “Game of Thrones”, “True Detective” and “Veep” will no longer have to pay big bucks for cable and satellite contracts. Next year HBO is cutting the cord and selling its popular streaming video service HBO Go as a stand-alone product, as more Americans choose to watch the Web, not the TV.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler said Wednesday that the move is aimed at targeting the 80 million homes in the U.S. that do not have HBO but may want access to its content — and especially the nation’s 10 million broadband-only homes.

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” Plepler said at parent Time Warner Inc.’s investor meeting in New York. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

Will this lead to a wave of pay-TV cancellations? HBO’s move is a game changer in the industry, says Forrester analyst James McQuivey.

“HBO and ESPN are the two main reasons why people have cable and satellite TV,” he said. “The whole industry has eyed them for years nervous that one day they would decide to do exactly what they said they’ll do in 2015. We don’t know until we see pricing and packaging how rapidly this will force a change in the way pay TV operators work, but it will definitely force a change.”

Cable and satellite providers have long been against the unbundling of TV channel packages because they wouldn’t be able to charge as much for an a la carte menu of stations cheap pay day loans. Pepler said HBO plans to work with current partners as well as “explore models with new partners,” but did not give specifics.

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video have rapidly grown in popularity. About 40 percent of online adults stream video on their television, according to Forrester, through services like Roku, Apple TV and others. And that doesn’t count the number of viewers who stream TV on their computer, phone or tablet.

HBO has been offering its streaming HBO Go service to HBO subscribers as well as some Internet subscribers who pay extra for the streaming service only. It has also offered a stand-alone service in Scandinavia for several years.

No details about pricing were given, but Forrester’s McQuivey expects the stand-alone HBO service could cost about $15 a month. That’s more than the lowest payment option for Netflix, which starts at $8.99, but high enough to discourage many cable TV subscribers from cancelling their service.

Time Warner shares rose $1.94, or nearly 3 percent, to $72.56 in midday trading.

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October 14, 2014

India

Filed under: business, term — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 8:20 am

India

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October 12, 2014

Seven Toronto city council challengers worth supporting: Editorial

Filed under: business, legal — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 5:24 pm

With the high-stakes race for Toronto mayor occupying most of the media’s scrutiny, some noteworthy contests for the city’s 44 council seats are easily overlooked. And that’s a shame. Several merit extra attention, especially where credible people have stepped forward to confront well-entrenched incumbents who don’t deserve to return.

Closer to election day, the Star will list its choices for council in every ward. But today we focus on seven particularly worthy challengers, each hoping to beat the odds by overturning an established council veteran. Their campaigns merit special recognition — and deserve voters’ support:

Idil Burale, Ward 1, Etobicoke North. This bright young woman has impressive credentials as a social activist, especially in the Somali-Canadian community. She’s a former political staffer at Queen’s Park, so she understands how politics works, and has served on the Toronto police board’s Community Safety Task Force, among other key initiatives. Burale faces incumbent Vincent Crisanti (open Vincent Crisanti’s policard), a diehard supporter of Mayor Rob Ford (open Rob Ford’s policard). Economically hard-pressed residents of this ward would be far better served by a strong and progressive advocate.

Andray Domise, Ward 2, Etobicoke North. He has one of the toughest fights in the city but Domise has been waging a spirited campaign, first against the mayor’s nephew and now against Rob Ford himself. Ford decided to run here after being diagnosed with cancer, abandoning his faltering effort to retain the mayor’s office. Always popular in the ward, Ford now has the extra advantage of a sympathy vote. But Domise, a hard-working financial planner born in Toronto to an immigrant Jamaican family, remains a far better choice. Ford’s failures are too many to chronicle here. The ward never thrived while he was in office and it can expect even less from a man struggling with a life-threatening illness. They wouldn’t be the only losers in Ford’s return. Given the precarious state of his health, Ford would probably be better off if he lost and was spared the added stress of public life.

Nick Di Nizio, Ward 7, York West. He’s a solid contender with a background in business and some modest community involvement. But the best reason to support Di Nizio is that he stands a good chance of defeating the reprehensible incumbent, Giorgio Mammoliti (open Giorgio Mammoliti’s policard). No city councillor deserves the boot more. A master of bluster and phoney grandstanding, Mammoliti was stripped of his city hall salary for 90 days after an improper mid-term fundraiser was held in his benefit. Police are now investigating.

Alex Mazer, Ward 18, Davenport. We endorsed Ana Bailao in the last election and she has been a reasonable, centrist voice at city hall. We might have endorsed her again, but there’s a stronger candidate here who would be an exceptional asset on council. Mazer is a young Harvard-educated lawyer, a respected policy adviser, and a community volunteer with a deep understanding of budget and urban issues. He’s a staunch advocate of progressive public policy and understands the mechanics of delivering it. Most notably, Mazer worked as policy director to former Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan, playing a role in four provincial budgets. City hall needs his expertise more than it needs Bailao’s return.

Ishrath Velshi, Ward 26, Don Valley West. She’s a well-spoken candidate with a strong social conscience and years of behind-the-scenes experience at both city hall and Queen’s Park. Her campaign slogan, “Everyone deserves a voice,” speaks to the way many residents here feel marginalized. Velshi understands the ward, having worked for its out-of-touch incumbent, John Parker (open John Parker’s policard), before moving on. Now she’s out to unseat her old boss and residents would be better off if she did. Also impressive is former police officer, entrepreneur and community volunteer Jon Burnside. He came close to beating Parker in 2010 and remains a sound alternative. But we favour Velshi.

Neethan Shan, Ward 42, Scarborough-Rouge River. This remarkable Tamil-Canadian has an impressive record of community service, including advocacy for children, youth and immigrants. He understands the issues confronting the city, especially its most disadvantaged people. Shan has political experience as a school board trustee when he lived in Markham. And he’s able to converse in Tamil, Hindi and Urdu, a definite advantage in one of the world’s most multicultural cities. He’s a far better choice than the hapless Raymond Cho (open Raymond Cho’s policard), an inarticulate and ineffective councillor who has clung to municipal office for more than 20 years.

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October 11, 2014

New once-a-day pill for Hep C wins FDA approval

Filed under: marketing, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 3:16 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials have approved a daily pill that can cure the most common form of hepatitis C without the grueling pill-and-injection cocktail long used to treat the virus.

It was not immediately clear how much the drug from Gilead Sciences would cost. But the $1,000-per-pill price tag for the company’s previous hepatitis drug has recently drawn scorn from patient groups, insurers and politicians worldwide.

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it cleared the new combination pill, Harvoni, for patients with genotype 1 of hepatitis C, a form of the liver-destroying virus that accounts for roughly 70 percent of U.S. cases. For the first time these patients will not have to take a combination of antiviral pills and shots that causes flu-like side effects.

Gilead Sciences Inc. is based in Forest City, California.

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October 9, 2014

US stocks have their best day of 2014

Filed under: loans, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 12:20 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street had its best day of the year.

The U.S. stock market surged Wednesday, erasing a steep loss from the day before. Investors were encouraged by the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting, which showed that the central bank wants to keep interest rates extremely low for the time being.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the Fed right now, so this was a big vote of confidence from investors,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

The Dow Jones jumped 274.83 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,994.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 33.79 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,968.89 and the Nasdaq composite rose 83.39 points, or 1.9 percent, to 4,468.59. All three indexes had their biggest point and percentage gains of 2014.

The jump was the latest whipsaw day for the stock market. Only the day before, the Dow plunged 273 points on fears that the global economy was slowing. Wednesday’s gains only made up for what investors lost on Tuesday.

Volatility has picked up sharply in U.S. stocks in recent days. Dow has had moves of 200 points or more five times in the last 10 days. There have only been six other days this year when the index has made moves of that magnitude.

Market watchers warned for some time now that the market was due to have more volatility, particularly with economic weakness developing in Europe and Asia and with the Federal Reserve on track to end a bond-buying stimulus program later this month. Analysts say investors should prepare to see more big moves in coming weeks.

“I don’t think this is going to end until the Fed’s meeting in October,” said James Liu, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “The market is in a tug-of-war between the slowdown in international economies and the strong economic numbers here in the U.S.”

The stock market surged in the last two hours of trading after the Fed released its minutes at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Fed’s minutes showed policymakers would only start to raise interest rates once the economy came close to the Fed’s goals for maximum employment and inflation running at an annual rate of 2 percent. Inflation has been running below 2 percent for some time.

Investors like low interest rates because they keep borrowing costs low for businesses and individuals, encouraging spending and investment. The Fed also sees inflation remaining low for the next few years, another positive for most investors.

The U.S. economy has been a bright spot in an otherwise darkening picture for the global economy. The IMF cut its outlook for this year and next for global growth, citing weakness in Japan, Latin America and Europe no fax pay day loan. The IMF expects the global economy will grow 3.3 percent this year, slightly below what it forecast in July. Europe, in particular, has been weak. Germany said Tuesday that its industrial output fell 4 percent in August, far more than expected.

In contrast, reports like September jobs survey show the U.S. economy continuing to expand. Investors have become concerned that Europe’s weakness will eventually drag on the U.S. too.

“I think the U.S. economy could be protected from Europe for a quarter or two, but will start hurting us here eventually,” Kinahan said.

Investors now turn their attention to U.S. companies, who will start reporting their quarterly results en masse in the coming weeks.

Alcoa, the aluminum giant, reported its results after Wednesday’s closing bell, which came in much better than expectations. The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based company reported an adjusted third quarter profit of 31 cents a share, much more than the 21 cents analysts were looking for. Alcoa rose 32 cents, or 2 percent, to $16.39 in after-market trading.

In other company news, Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and K-mart, dropped $1.45, or 5 percent, to $28.85 following news reports that the company’s vendors have started to halt shipments to the retailer. Sears has struggled for several months and has been selling off assets to raise cash to pay for its expenses.

Gap plunged $3.57, or 8.5 percent, to $38.40 in after-market trading after the company announced its CEO Glenn Murphy was stepping down early next year.

In other markets, the price of oil fell to its lowest level in 18 months on lower global demand and high supplies. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.54 to close at $87.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 73 cents to close at $91.38 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the NYMEX, wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to close at $2.318 a gallon, heating oil fell 3.1 cents to close at $2.576 a gallon and natural gas fell 10.2 cents to close at $3.855 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In metals trading, the price of gold fell $6.40 to $1,206 an ounce. Silver fell 18 cents to $17.06 an ounce and copper fell four cents to $3 a pound.

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