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AP Financial News Summary at 12:10 a.m. EDT

June 30, 2004

Fed Begins Debating Interest Rates

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Poised to raise interest rates for the first time in four years, the Federal Reserve on Tuesday began debating how fast and how high. But one issue wasn’t in doubt _ the man controlling the debate was still Alan Greenspan.

Tokyo Stocks Flat in Late Morning Trading

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TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo stocks were virtually flat Wednesday morning as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates. The dollar was down against the Japanese yen.

Consumer Confidence Rises Nearly 9 Points

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumer confidence jumped to a two-year high in June, buoyed by an improved job market and softening gasoline prices, the New York-based Conference Board reported Tuesday.

Study: Toyota Most Dependable Automaker

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DETROIT (AP) _ Toyota Motor Corp. remains the automaker with the most dependable vehicles, led by its Lexus luxury brand, though Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers all showed improvement in the past year, according to the latest J.D. Power and Associates vehicle dependability study released Tuesday.

Bank One to Settle Hedge Fund Allegations

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Bank One Corp. agreed Tuesday on the eve of its final day as an independent company to settle regulators’ allegations that it allowed a hedge fund to make improper mutual fund trades.

AT&T Fined $400G for Charging for Service

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NEW YORK (AP) _ AT&T Corp. will pay $400,000 in penalties and costs and issue refunds to as many as 311,000 New York residents who were billed for long-distance telephone service they neither requested nor used.

Jurors Still Undecided in Adelphia Case

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Jurors in the fraud trial of Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas and three other former executives completed a second day of deliberations Tuesday without reaching a verdict.

Sara Lee to Eliminate 306 Jobs in Texas

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Sara Lee Bakery Group is closing two Texas bakeries and eliminating 306 jobs as it trims production of most private-label and restaurant baked goods in the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio areas, the company said Tuesday.

Siebel Charged With Violating SEC Rule

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal regulators charged Siebel Systems Inc. on Tuesday with violating a rule barring companies from revealing information to Wall Street before the general public _ the second such accusation against the software maker.

8 Firms Told to Pay Fines, Settle Charges

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Regulators ordered eight brokerage firms, including some of Wall Street’s biggest houses, to pay a total of more than $610,000 on Tuesday to settle charges that they improperly traded municipal bonds and failed to ensure that customers received a fair price for their bonds.

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