AP Top Business News At 12:29 p.m. EDT

US factory orders posted record drop in August
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount on record, but the drop was heavily weighed by an expected plunge in volatile aircraft orders....

Applications for US jobless benefits drop to 287K
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of beneficiaries dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years....

Falling oil prices drag US stock market lower
NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks fell again Thursday, putting indexes on track for a fourth straight decline, as energy companies dragged down the broader market. Once again, economic concerns in Europe were translating into worries in the U.S....

IMF head: Improved policies needed to boost growth
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the International Monetary Fund says six years after the financial crisis struck, the world is still mired in a disappointing economic recovery and will only be able to regain momentum through improved government policies....

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buys auto dealer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Warren Buffett is getting into the automobile sales business....

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.19 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A key long-term U.S. mortgage rate dipped this week, the second drop after a large increase two weeks ago....

Sears to raise cash through Canadian ops sale
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) -- Sears, sorely in need of cash, is selling most of its stake in its Canadian unit to raise as much as $380 million....

MIT, Twitter team up on $10M social media project
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Twitter are teaming up on a $10 million project to better understand social networks and figure out new ways to benefit from them....

Next Ferrari chief focuses on F1
PARIS (AP) -- The incoming boss of Ferrari has one "very high" priority: getting his cars back on top of the Formula One podium....

Hong Kong protests hit city's role as finance hub
HONG KONG (AP) -- Shops in Hong Kong have closed and the local stock market has plunged but protesters are gambling their agitation for greater democracy will pay off by preserving institutions that made this former British colony a profitable asset to China....

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Falling oil prices drag US stock market lower

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.19 percent

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buys auto dealer

IMF head: Improved policies needed to boost growth

US factory orders posted record drop in August

Sears to raise cash through Canadian ops sale

European car chiefs 'reeling' from Ford warning

German insurer Allianz appoints new CEO

US stocks stabilize after plunge; McCormick gains

Applications for US jobless benefits drop to 287K