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* Japan’s economy grew at an annual 0.3% pace in the third quarter, less than expected, suggesting a recovery was faltering as overseas demand for the nation’s semiconductors and flat-panel screens slowed.

* Mossimo Inc., a maker and licenser of apparel and accessories, said its third-quarter results swung to a loss on higher expenses. The Santa Monica-based company posted a loss of $125,000, or 1 cent a share, contrasted with a profit of $630,000, or 4 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $4.9 million from $4.2 million.

* LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. named former Levi Strauss & Co. Chief Financial Officer William Chiasson to take over as finance chief.

* EBay Inc. said it was buying Marktplaats.nl, the biggest Dutch classified advertising website, for $290 million in cash.

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* SBC Communications Inc. said its plan to create a fiber optic network would cost about $4 billion, at the low end of a previous forecast of up to $6 billion.

* Members of Walt Disney World’s largest union rejected a contract proposal for a third time and authorized leaders to call a strike if necessary.

* Marvel Enterprises Inc. is suing two firms behind a computer game it claims allows players to make virtual characters that are too similar to the Hulk, X-Men and other heroes in the comic book company’s stable. The lawsuit claims South Korea-based NCSoft Corp. and San Jose-based Cryptic Studios Inc. violated Marvel’s trademark characters in their game “City of Heroes.”


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