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Stocks rise...Slower growth could affect Fed plans...Microsoft shows off 8.1

Wednesday - 6/26/2013, 3:40pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are climbing for the second day in a row as lower bond yields ease worries that higher interest rates could upset the economy. Traders bought bonds and yields fell after the government reported that the U.S. economy grew at a significantly slower rate than previously thought in the first three months this year.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government's downward revision of first-quarter growth could affect the Federal Reserve's plan to start scaling back its bond-buying program later this year. The Commerce Department said today that the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first three months of the year, down from last month's estimate of 2.4 percent. One analyst says the Fed won't scale back the stimulus program based on the kind of numbers that were reported today.

PARIS (AP) -- European Central Bank head Mario Draghi (DRAHG'-ee) says the bank has "done as much as it can" to stabilize Europe's troubled economy and now it's up to national governments to reform their economies. He says the bank stands ready to act but governments need to do all they can to increase potential growth and make their economies more competitive. He urged politicians to streamline excessive labor market regulations that result in high levels of youth unemployment.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid says a bipartisan agreement being offered on student loan interest rates is not an acceptable deal. A spokesman says Reid cannot support a proposed compromise that would peg student loans' interest rates to the financial markets. The proposal would set higher interest rates in future years if the economy improves, but would allow students to avoid a July 1 rate hike on new loans.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Microsoft is using a three-day conference this week to give people a peek into Windows 8.1. The free update is meant to address some of the gripes people have with the latest version of the company's flagship operating system that was released in October. Many of the new features have been shown off already, but the conference in San Francisco gives the company a chance to explain some of the reasoning behind the update to Microsoft partners and other technology developers.

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