Oct 20 - Summary of business headlines: Microsoft hits earnings target, AT&T misses on revenues; Greek lawmakers pass a painful set of austerity measures as protesters shut down central Athens for a second day; Stocks end mixed. Conway Gittens reports.
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL
Earnings at Microsoft were in line with forecasts and revenues came in just ahead of Wall Street expectations. Sales were helped by demand for its Microsoft Office software and its flagship Windows operating system.
But AT&T's third-quarter revenues did not live up to estimates. The No. 2 U.S. mobile service provider saw a drop of in sales ahead of the launch of the latest iPhone.
Greek lawmakers have given final approval to a tough austerity law. The cost-cutting agreement reduces wages and hikes taxes as the country tries to avoid bankruptcy and secure the next bailout payment.
The vote passed by 154 to 144, but it wasn't an easy vote says lawmaker Louka Katseli.
SOUNDBITE: GOVERNING PARTY MEMBER LOUKA KATSELI (GREEK WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) SAYING:
"I fully realize the responsibility we have to support the government in its negotiations, and that is why I voted for the bill in principle, despite the reservations I stated to the parliamentary group for several articles, as well as proposals for improvement."
The vote prevailed even though 70,000 Greeks took to the streets in a second day of protests. Violence once again erupted, continuing into the night, with at least 74 people were taken to the hospital. That violence continued even as Germany and France said a solution to Europe's debt crisis will be discussed this weekend, but fell short of promising a decision.
Turning to the economy: U.S. jobless claims dropped to a six-month low based on the four-week moving average and business activity in the Mid-Atlantic states shifted out of contraction to growth in October. But existing home sales fell more than expected in September.
As for the markets - Wall Street finished mixed after gyrating for most of the session.
But losses were seen across the board in Europe with Germany down the most.
Conway Gittens, Reuters