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Stocks slide...Survey finds hiring picking up...Construction spending declines

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street, putting the market on course for its third loss in a row. Economic weakness in Europe is offsetting positive news from the U.S. A purchasing managers survey showed that German manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in September for the first time in 15 months.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey finds that U.S. businesses continued hiring at a solid pace in September. Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 213,000 jobs last month, up slightly from 202,000 in August. Job gains above 200,000 are usually enough to lower the unemployment rate. It's the sixth straight month ADP has seen solid gains. The government releases its September employment figures on Friday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending has fallen for the second time in the past three months, with housing, non-residential and government projects all showing weakness. The Commerce Department says construction spending dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in August after a 1.2 percent increase in July. The July increase followed a 1.6 percent June decline. In addition to the August decline, the government revised lower its estimates for activity in the previous two months.

DETROIT (AP) — Big discounts on pickup trucks helped keep U.S. auto sales strong in September following a blistering August, which was the industry's best month in eight years. Chrysler's sales jumped 19 percent in September on strong demand for Ram pickups and the new Jeep Cherokee SUV. General Motors also saw a 19 percent jump, with sales of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup up 54 percent. But Ford's U.S. sales dipped 3 percent as the company cut back on truck discounts in anticipation of a new F-150 later this year.

NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills plans to cut another 700 to 800 jobs as part of a restructuring to be completed by the end of fiscal 2015. It's the second time the Minneapolis food company has trimmed its work force in a month, as it wrestles with a shift by U.S. consumers away from boxed or frozen meals.

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