Morning Briefs

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PATRICK & ROBINSON BUYS CPA FIRM CARTER & CO.

Two Jacksonville CPA firms have merged. Patrick & Robinson announced it has acquired the accounting practice of Carter & Co.

Patrick & Robinson said it will retain all employees from Carter and the merged firm will continue to work from both companies' offices.

Mark Basch/The Times-Union

HEWLETT-PACKARD TO PAY $14.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT

Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's largest maker of personal computers and printers, agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle an investigation by California's Attorney General over its spying tactics.

The agreement ends a three-month probe of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard. Prosecutors have separately charged the company's former chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, and four others with conspiracy and fraud over their involvement in an investigation into boardroom leaks.

Dunn pleaded not guilty.

Bloomberg News

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS CLAIMS SEE A DROP

The number of newly laid- off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week by the largest amount in six months, relieving worries about a big jump in claims in the previous week.

The total number of claims filed last week fell to 324,000, a decline of 34,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Analysts said the labor market appears to be withstanding this year's economic slowdown, which has been brought on by a big drop in the once-booming housing market and weakness in other areas such as auto sales.

Associated Press

FILM EXEC: CHINA SHOULD LIFT ITS FOREIGN MOVIE BAN

An American film industry official said Thursday that China should lift barriers that block most movie imports, warning they are fueling its thriving market for pirated titles and hurting Chinese studios. …