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Dollar General enters bidding for Family Dollar

NEW YORK (AP) — Dollar General isn't about to be left out in the cold. The discounter is starting a bidding war for Family Dollar with an approximately $8.95 billion offer as it attempts to trump a Dollar Tree bid.

For Dollar General, the decision to enter the fray was clear because Family Dollar had been on its radar for a while. Dollar General Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said during a conference call Monday that the company had expressed interest in combining with Family Dollar multiple times over the last few years.

While Dreiling didn't disclose if there'd been any sticking points in working out an agreement in the past, he said Dollar General was very surprised when Family Dollar announced its deal with Dollar Tree. Despite the shock, Dollar General remains undeterred in trying to work out a transaction.

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McDonald's confronts its junk food image

NEW YORK (AP) — At a dinner McDonald's hosted for reporters and bloggers, waiters served cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs using ingredients from the chain's menu.

A Kung Pao chicken appetizer was made with Chicken McNuggets doused in sweet and sour sauce and garnished with parsley. Slow-cooked beef was served with gnocchi fashioned out of McDonald's french fries and a fruit sauce from its smoothie mix. For dessert, its biscuit mix was used to make a pumpkin spice "biznut," a biscuit-doughnut hybrid.

The event, held in New York City's Tribeca neighbourhood, is part of a campaign by McDonald's to shake its reputation for serving cheap, unhealthy food. At a time when Americans are playing closer attention to what they eat, the company is trying to sway public opinion by first reaching out to the reporters, bloggers and other so-called "influencers" who write and speak about McDonald's.

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Google's pivotal IPO launched a decade of big bets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google's IPO, a decade ago this week, launched the company on a trajectory that continues to reshape its business and much of the world in its orbit.

And CEO Larry Page is determined to push even further.

Page's vision is that Google's products and services will become the control centre of people's lives: The company's driverless cars will chauffeur people around safer roads and deliver goods within hours of an online order. People won't even have to bother leaving their homes, which will be made more comfortable and enjoyable through the use of smart appliances. Robots will handle tedious chores and other jobs, freeing up time for people to enjoy lives prolonged by health-management tools and disease-fighting breakthroughs engineered by Google. Internet-connected eyewear and watches will supplement the smartphones that ensure Google is a constant companion capable of anticipating questions and desires.

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PriceWaterhouseCoopers to pay $25M in bank case

ALBANY, New York (AP) — PriceWaterhouseCoopers will pay $25 million and face a two-year suspension from consulting for new bank clients under an agreement with New York regulators following an investigation that showed the company improperly altered a report about Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi laundering money.

Monday's agreement followed a $250 million settlement between the bank and the same regulators last year.

New York's Department of Financial Services said its investigation showed PriceWaterhouseCoopers, under pressure from bank executives, improperly altered a report to regulators on bank wire transfers on behalf of Iran, Sudan and other countries under U.S. sanctions.

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US homebuilder confidence rises in August

U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident in their sales prospects headed into next year, a sign that home construction and sales of newly built homes may pick up after stalling this summer.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose this month to 55, up two points from a revised reading of 53 in July.

The latest reading is the third monthly increase in a row and the highest since January, when it was 56. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

Builders' view of current sales conditions for single-family homes, their outlook for sales over the next six months and traffic by prospective buyers each increased since July.

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Unemployment rises in most US states in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates rose in 30 U.S. states last month, even as employers in two-thirds of the states stepped up hiring. The trends reflect an increase in job-hunters nationwide as an improving economy has encouraged more people to seek work.

The Labor Department said Monday that unemployment rates fell in eight states in July and were unchanged in 12. At the same time, hiring rose in 36 states, fell in 13, and was unchanged in Iowa.

The national unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 per cent in July from 6.1 per cent in June, the government said earlier this month, even as employers added 209,000 jobs.

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New Corvette feature keeps an eye on valets

DETROIT (AP) — Face it. If you own a luxury or sports car, whenever you hand the keys to a valet, you imagine the car going on a high-speed joyride like the Ferrari in the 1980s cult movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

Now, General Motors has an option on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette that takes those worries away.

The latest version of the sports car, due out in September, has a feature that records where the car goes with a camera mounted in the windshield trim. It also captures audio in the cabin as well as speed, engine revolutions per minute, gear position and G-force. That all helps the car tattle on any valet who doesn't take a slow, direct route to a parking space.

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Bourbon production reaches high point since '70s

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — Kentucky bourbon makers are making a big bet by stashing away their largest stockpiles in more than a generation.

To put it in bartenders' lingo: Distillers are putting up the tab for millions of rounds of bourbon years before they are even ordered. The production poses an inherent risk, but hitting the moment right — a big supply meshing with big demand — could mean a serious payday for companies big and small.

Missing the target would leave bourbon makers awash with supply and leave future production in question, particularly for craft distilleries that have seen a surge in popularity.

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Aeropostale rehires Geiger as CEO amid sales slump

NEW YORK (AP) — Aeropostale is reinstating a past leader as it struggles with sliding sales.

The New York company said Monday that Julian Geiger, its former CEO, is taking over effective immediately. Thomas Johnson is leaving the board of directors as well as relinquishing the CEO title.

Aeropostale has lost money for six consecutive quarters and predicts another loss for the quarter that ended in early August. It is closing 125 of its mall-based P.S. from Aeropostale stores and cutting some corporate jobs as mall traffic drops and shoppers' tastes change. It has said it plans to focus on online sales, outlet stores and licensing deals.

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Report: Cost to raise today's child tops $245,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — A child born in 2013 will cost a middle-income American family an average of $245,340 until he or she becomes an adult, with families living in the Northeast taking on a greater burden, according to a report out Monday.

Those costs — food, housing, childcare and education — rose 1.8 per cent over the previous year, the Agriculture Department's new "Expenditures on Children and Families" report said. As in the past, families in the urban Northeast will spend more than families in the urban South and rural parts of the U.S., or roughly $282,480.

When adjusting for projected inflation, the report found that a child born last year could cost a middle-income family an average of about $304,480.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 175.83 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 16,838.74. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 16.68 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 1,971.74. The Nasdaq composite gained 43.39 points, or 1 per cent, to 4,508.31.

U.S. benchmark oil dropped 94 cents to $96.41 a barrel on the New York Stock Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international crudes used by U.S. refineries, fell $1.93 to $101.60 in London. Wholesale gasoline slipped 4.3 cents to $2.656 a gallon. Heating oil fell 4.2 cents to $2.806 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.6 cents to $3.792 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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