– MySpace relaunches with focus on entertainment

The social network MySpace relaunched its site on Wednesday in an effort to revive its once-strong social network, which has been pressured by the booming popularity of rival Facebook.

MySpace says it is targeting Generation Y — those in their teens through about age 35 — with the revamped website, which is designed to act as a “social entertainment destination” focused on music, movies, TV and games.

The beta site rolled out Wednesday, and users worldwide will have access by the end of November, MySpace said.

A version of the site viewable on all mobile browsers will be released shortly, followed by applications for Apple’s iPhone and for devices driven by Google’s Android operating system, the company said.

Once considered a pioneer in the social networking space, MySpace has fallen well below Facebook in terms of traffic.

Showtime moves to giving subscribers online content

Showtime Networks, the pay TV channel of CBS Corp., said Wednesday that it is now allowing Comcast Corp. subscribers to watch movies and previously aired episodes of its shows such as “Weeds” and “Dexter” online as long as they prove they are subscribers.

Currently the offerings are available on Comcast’s online hub for content, XfinityTV.com. Showtime also plans to launch website ShowtimeAnytime.com, where subscribers of other cable, satellite and telephone companies will be able to watch the shows later this year.

The service is similar to Time Warner Inc.’s HBO Go, an online service that gives paying subscribers access to HBO programming online. Both are meant to add value to subscriptions while keeping online content behind a so-called “pay wall” that ensures revenue is coming in.

SEC ready to require brokers to monitor trades

The Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to ban brokers from letting clients make unsupervised trades on stock exchanges, as it grows increasingly concerned that a rogue transaction could roil markets.

SEC commissioners will vote Nov. 3 on a rule that would require brokerages to implement risk controls to monitor client trades, the agency said Wednesday in a statement on its website. SEC officials first proposed the regulation in January, saying they were concerned that a computer malfunction or human error might trigger an order that could erode a firm’s capital.

The SEC is cracking down on computerized trading after lawmakers such as Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., questioned the agency’s oversight of stock markets increasingly dominated by electronic trading. The May 6 crash, which erased $862 billion of value from equities in 20 minutes, has prompted the SEC to examine high-frequency trading and the fragmentation of transactions across 50 different venues.

Procter & Gamble reports profits beat expectations

Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer-products company, said Wednesday that first-quarter profit declined 6.8 percent, exceeding some analysts’ estimates, after it sold a pharmaceuticals unit and commodity costs rose.

Net income declined to $3.08 billion, or $1.02 a share, in the period ended Sept. 30, from $3.31 billion, or $1.06 a share, a year earlier, the Cincinnati-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Twenty-one analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated profit of $1 a share on average. Some consumers are seeking cheaper products than P&G’s brands such as Tide detergent, Crest toothpaste and Pampers diapers.

Allstate sees profits rise, stock prices sink

Property and casualty insurer Allstate Corp. said Wednesday that its net income surged 66 percent in the third quarter as investment losses eased.

The performance nevertheless missed Wall Street expectations and the company’s stock slipped in after-hours trading.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company earned $367 million, or 68 cents per share. That’s compared with $221 million, or 41 cents per share, a year ago.

—From news service reports