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Consumer spending picks up... private hiring does not.

Bad news: This morning, a private payroll service said U-S companies unexpectedly decreased their workforces last month by 39,000 people. Good news: MasterCard says consumers spent a little more last month on back-to-school clothes and electronics. Bad news again: They spent less on "luxuries." (Apparently, electronics are no longer luxuries?)

Microsoft is trying to challenge Apple's superiority at store-retailing. MSFT is about to open its fifth and biggest retail store -- directly across from the Apple store at the Mall of America.

Budgetary pressures may lead New Jersey's Governor to pull the plug on an $8.7 billion commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Unfortunately, this is a taste of what's to come for states around the country.

And, after a night of dramatic negotiations, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is about to also own the Liverpool football team in England. How do Liverpool fans feel about that move?

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