Uncertainty about credit crisis drags stocks lower

NEW YORK — Wall Street closed an uneasy session lower Wednesday as investors, uncertain if the worst of the credit crisis is over, refrained from extending Tuesday's huge advance.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 76.08 or 0.62 percent, to 13,231.01. Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 10.47, or 0.71 percent, to 1,470.58, while the Nasdaq composite index tumbled 29.33, or 1.10 percent, to 2,644.32.

Merrill recruits head of NYSE to its corner office

NEW YORK — Merrill Lynch on Wednesday tapped New York Stock Exchange head John Thain, 52, to lead the world's largest brokerage through the unfolding credit market turmoil. Thain's appointment as chairman and chief executive comes two weeks after the ouster of Stan O'Neal as Merrill reported a $2.24 billion loss for the third quarter, the largest in its history. Thain's first day on the job is Dec. 1.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Thain's replacement will be Duncan Niederauer, now co-chief operating officer and president of the Big Board.

Report: Delta and United might consider merger

ATLANTA — United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been discussing a combination between the nation's second- and third-largest carriers, the Associated Press reported.

Delta said it formed a special committee to evaluate options, including mergers, in response to pressure from an investor. But its top executive denied that the airline has entered into "any type of consolidation transaction" with United. Delta and United serve Charleston, where Delta is the top carrier by passenger volume.

Stagehands, producers to resume labor talks

NEW YORK — With Thanksgiving week looming, striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers say they will start talking again Saturday.

The two sides said they will resume negotiations "at an undisclosed place and time." Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times for Broadway. The stagehands went on strike Saturday, shutting down 27 plays and musicals.

Thousands of taxpayers can claim refund checks

WASHINGTON — More than $110 million in tax refund checks went uncashed this year, mostly because people did not tell the Internal Revenue Service or the post office when they moved, the IRS said Wednesday.

The agency said 115,478 taxpayers did not get a check, in some cases it was more than one, averaging about $953. The money can be claimed as soon as taxpayers update their addresses.

The IRS directed people to the "Where's My Refund?" site at www.irs.gov. They can also call 1-800-829-1954.