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Updated: Sep 20 2012, 06:56am hrs
Housing starts in US climbed 2.3% in Aug

New housing construction rose in August, boosted by the strongest pace of single-family home starts in more than two years that shows an improving US real estate market. Beginning construction climbed 2.3% to a 750,000 annual rate, less than forecast and restrained by a drop in the building of apartments, from a revised 733,000 annual pace in July, commerce department figures showed in Washington. The median estimate of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 767,000. Building permits cooled. Mortgage rates near all-time lows and cheaper properties are driving sales at companies like Toll Brothers and propelling construction, one of the economys few sources of strength.

Sony plans slimmer & smaller PlayStation 3

Sony is introducing a smaller, slimmer and lighter version of its PlayStation 3 home console ahead of the year-end holidays as it gears up for growing competition in games from smartphones. The announcement on Wednesday from the Japanese electronics and entertainment company comes a day ahead of the annual Tokyo Game Show, where game makers show their wares. But the iPhone 5 smartphone from Apple is hogging much of the attention, already drawing long lines for pre-orders at some retailers, and more lines are expected ahead of Fridays launch. The new PlayStation 3, closer to the size of a laptop, is half the size of the original model, introduced in 2006.

Yahoo closes $7.6-billion deal with Alibaba Group

Yahoo will live up to its promise to pay its shareholders most of the money from a $7.6 billion deal with the Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group. Yahoo reassured its shareholders on Tuesday a few hours after Alibaba disclosed it had completed a complex transaction announced four months ago. At that time, Yahoo pledged to distribute most of the proceeds to shareholders who have been frustrated with the companys slumping stock price. But Yahoo signalled last month that new CEO Marissa Mayer might scrap that plan and hold on to the money to finance her ideas for turning around the company.

Porsche wins dismissal of two investor lawsuits

Porsche SE won dismissal of the first two investor suits in Germany over allegations the company lied about its failed Volkswagen AG takeover plan in 2008. Porsche shares surged the most in nine months after the ruling. The Braunschweig Regional Court on Wednesday dismissed the cases, seeking less than 5 million euros ($6.53 million) combined. Three additional suits, which seek a combined total of 4.1 billion euros, are still pending at the court. All argue the 911 sports-carmaker manipulated stock prices in its failed VW bid.

Germany asks people not to use Internet Explorer

The German government urged the public on Tuesday to temporarily stop using Microsofts Internet Explorer following discovery of a yet-to-be repaired bug in the Web browser that the software maker said makes PCs vulnerable hacker attacks. It issued the warning as a researcher said he found evidence that suggests the hackers who exploited the flaw were seeking to attack defense contractors. Microsoft said on Monday that attackers can exploit the bug in its Internet Explorer, used on hundreds of millions of computers, to infect the PC of somebody who visits a malicious website and then take control of the victims computer.