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Stocks little changed...Bernanke: Economy still needs help...Activists urge EU to stick by standards

Wednesday - 7/10/2013, 6:51pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- A relatively quiet trading day has seen stocks close little changed. The release of minutes from last month's meeting of the Federal Reserve's policy committee offered investors little new information on the direction of the central bank's stimulus program. The Dow lost a little more than 8 points, while the S&P was up a fraction and the Nasdaq gained 16 points.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. economy still needs help from the Federal Reserves' low interest rate policies. Speaking to the National Bureau of Economic Research in Massachusetts, Bernanke says unemployment remains high and inflation is below the Fed's target, making the policies necessary. He also says the economy is being held back by higher taxes and federal spending cuts.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As talks begin on a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement, American activists are urging European trade negotiators not to weaken environmental and food standards. About 50 activist groups made brief presentations to trade negotiators today. Some of the speakers praised Europe's approach to product safety, regulation of chemicals and strict limitations on genetically modified food -- which is expected to be one of the more contentious subjects in the negotiations.

NEW YORK (AP) -- KFC's parent company Yum Brands Inc. says its profit fell in the second quarter. An Avian flu scare and a supplier controversy in China led to a 10-percent sales drop at restaurants in its China division. The Louisville, Ky.,-based Yum says it earned $281 million, or 61 cents per share, in the quarter. That's $50 million less than a year ago. Total revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The head of Smithfield Foods is trying to ease concerns that the pork producer's proposed takeover by a Chinese company would pose risks to the U.S. food supply. CEO Larry Pope told the Senate Agriculture Committee today that the deal isn't about importing Chinese pork into the U.S., but exporting Smithfield brand to new markets. The $7 billion is subject to federal and shareholder approvals.

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