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Around the business world

Crude prices fall on high gasoline supply, possibly waning demand: NEW YORK ” Crude oil prices fell Thursday, extending losses from a day earlier, when the Department of Energy reported an increase in U.S. gasoline supplies.

Airbus announces orders for 29 jets: FARNBOROUGH, England ” Airbus announced orders for 29 jets on Thursday, as U.S. leasing company CIT Group Inc. and Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air signed deals with the European aircraft maker.

Fed chief says housing slowdown appears ‘orderly’: WASHINGTON ” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that the once high-flying housing market appears to be experiencing a safe landing. “The downturn in the housing market so far appears to be orderly,” he said during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. See story page B34.

Amdocs shares rise as order backlog grows: NEW YORK ” Shares of Amdocs Ltd. jumped Thursday after the supplier of billing software and services for phone companies said its quarterly order backlog rose 9 percent to $1.96 billion from several new contracts.

Continental’s second-quarter profit almost doubles on 23 percent boost in passenger revenue: HOUSTON ” Continental Airlines on Thursday added to the airline industry’s apparent turnaround from years of struggles by nearly doubling its second-quarter net income through higher fares and packed planes.

Is organic baby food better than jarred purees?: Several companies now offer organic baby food that comes chilled or frozen, which they say retains more vitamins and minerals. But at around double the price of typical jarred organic foods, nutrition experts say the new products may not be worth the premium.

Western expansion boosts Wachovia second-quarter profits: CHARLOTTE, N.C. ” Profiting from westward expansion, Wachovia Corp. reported a 14 percent rise in second-quarter earnings on Thursday, but Wall Street expressed its skepticism about the company’s growth strategy by driving shares lower.

Safeway tops second-quarter earnings expectations, raises outlook: SAN FRANCISCO ” Safeway Inc. beat analysts’ earnings expectations for the second quarter and raised its outlook for the remainder of the year, providing the strongest indication yet that the nation’s third-largest grocer has finally recovered from years of labor strife and sales erosion. Its shares surged to a 52-week high on Thursday’s news.

Yukos president announces resignation ahead of creditors’ meeting: MOSCOW ” The possible break up of OAO Yukos, once Russia’s largest oil company, hung in the balance on Thursday after its president announced his resignation and a hotly anticipated creditors meeting that could vote to liquidate the company was suspended until next week.

Agriculture Department to reduce mad cow testing by about 90 percent: WASHINGTON ” The Agriculture Department is scaling back its testing program for mad cow disease to one-tenth of what it has been since the discovery of an infected cow in the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said there is little justification for the current level, which rose to about 1,000 tests a day after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease in December 2003.

Ford reports $123 million loss in second quarter: DEARBORN, Mich. ” Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it lost $123 million in the second quarter due to slumping sales and the cost of shedding personnel. The nation’s second-biggest automaker said it would cut production more than previously planned this quarter and pledged to accelerate its restructuring effort.

BMW names production chief Norbert Reithofer to succeed Helmut Panke as chief executive: BERLIN ” BMW AG on Thursday named production chief Norbert Reithofer to succeed chief executive Helmut Panke, rejuvenating its leadership after a run of success. Reithofer, 50, will replace Panke on Sept. 1 as part of a management reshuffle at the luxury carmaker.

EBay sets out to regain magic touch: SAN FRANCISCO ” It has been clear to investors for some time that eBay Inc. has been losing the luster that turned the online auctioneer into an e-commerce bellwether. Now, CEO Meg Whitman is finally acknowledging things have been off kilter and is hoping to set things right by raising fees on the online stores that had been diverting traffic from eBay’s auctions.

Hyundai Motor says labor strike has forced it to suspend vehicle exports: SEOUL, South Korea ” A partial strike by its labor union has forced Hyundai Motor Co. to suspend vehicle exports, South Korea’s largest automaker said Thursday.

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