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Stocks fly high...Oil prices up, gasoline steady... Merck's new cholesterol drug approved

Friday - 5/3/2013, 6:40pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market is surging past new milestones after the government reported a big pickup in hiring at U.S. employers. The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 15,000 for the first time and the S&P 500, a broader market measure, broke through 1,600. The Dow rose 142 points to close at 14,973.The S&P 500 surged 17 points to 1,614. The Nasdaq composite rose 38.

UNDATED (AP) -- The price of oil is up again. A better-than-expected U.S. jobs report points to growth and a rising demand for energy this year. Benchmark crude for June delivery rose $1.62 to finish at $95.61 a barrel in New York. Gasoline prices are holding steady at the pump. The national average to is $3.52 a gallon. That's down about 12 cents from a month ago.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) -- Merck & Co. says it has received U.S. marketing approval for its new cholesterol drug Liptruzet, which combines the company's drug Zetia with a generic version of the mega-blockbuster drug Lipitor. The Food and Drug Administration approved the once-a-day medication to reduce "bad" cholesterol in patients who can't control their levels with a healthy diet alone.

ATLANTA (AP) -- An Algerian man has pleaded not guilty to helping develop and market a computer program that drained millions of dollars from bank accounts around the world. Hamza Bendelladj is accused of being involved in a conspiracy to develop and sell SpyEye, a banking Trojan. More than 250 financial institutions were affected. Bendelladj was arraigned today in Atlanta.

NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo is cutting ties with Lil Wayne after the rapper made a crude reference to civil rights martyr Emmett Till in a song. Lil Wayne had a deal to promote Mountain Dew soda. Wayne referred to beating someone during a sexual act and said he wants to do as much damage as was done to Till. The black teen was killed in Mississippi in 1955, allegedly for whistling at a white woman.

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