Falling tech stocks trigger market drop

SEATTLE -- Technology companies led the stock market to its third straight loss Thursday after Cisco Systems' earnings report raised more questions about the economy.

Stocks also fell after the Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rose last week to 484,000.

The gain was small at 2,000, but economists had expected the number to drop.

The news pointed to continuing weakness in the labor market.

The latest earnings reports added to the market's darkening view of the economy. Cisco's revenue from its latest quarter and its forecast for future revenue fell short of analysts' expectations.

The company's stock fell 10 percent, and other tech stocks also fell.

BP to pay $50.6M for refinery blast

WASHINGTON -- Beleaguered oil giant BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6 million fine for failing to correct safety hazards at its Texas City oil refinery after a 2005 explosion killed 15 workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday it still is working to collect another $30 million from BP Products North America for other penalties that the company is contesting.

The fine stands as the largest penalty issued in OSHA's history.

Foreclosures surge 9 percent in July

LOS ANGELES -- The number of U.S. homes lost to foreclosure surged in July, as lenders take back more properties from homeowners who have been in default for months on end.

Lenders repossessed 92,858 properties last month, up 9 percent from June and an increase of 6 percent from July 2009, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac said Thursday.

Banks have stepped up repossessions this year to clear out the backlog of bad loans.

The number of properties receiving an initial default notice, the first step in the foreclosure process, rose 1 percent last month from June, but was down 28 percent versus July last year, RealtyTrac said.

Owner of Wendy's sees sales slowing

CHICAGO -- Slipping sales and one-time charges cut into second-quarter results at Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc., the fast-food chain said Thursday, announcing that its net income fell by more than a quarter.

At the same time, the owner of Wendy's and Arby's cut its full-year outlook, predicting business at its hamburger and roast beef chains would slow.

For the quarter that ended in late June, Wendy's/Arby's earned $10.7 million, down from $14.9 million last year. The latest figure includes charges of $15.2 million.

Revenue slipped 4 percent to $877 million.

Kohl's says profits up, curbs outlook

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. -- Kohl's said Thursday that it second-quarter net income rose nearly 14 percent to $260 million as demand improved for its products.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $4.1 billion. Sales in stores open at least a year rose 5.9 percent.

The department store operator also trimmed the top end of its yearly outlook because of rising costs and slowing sales growth.