Reports Show a Mixed View of Economy

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Factory orders for costly manufactured goods in July recorded the biggest gain in four months. New-homes sales, meanwhile, slid, according to a pair of reports that offered a mixed picture of economic activity.

Oil Prices Sink Below $44 on Profit-Taking

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oil prices plummeted below $44 a barrel Wednesday, sinking for the fourth consecutive day, as supply fears receded, gasoline futures plunged and profit-taking took over.

Tokyo Stocks Higher; Dollar Up Vs. Yen

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TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo stocks rose Thursday morning after shares gained on Wall Street. The dollar was up against the Japanese yen.

Dow Closes Up 83 on Lower Oil Prices

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rallied in quiet trading Wednesday as oil prices fell for a fourth straight session, countering a pair of government reports that gave a mixed picture of the economy.

Justice Dept. Cracks Down Internet Crime

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The FBI seized computers, software and equipment as part of an investigation into illegal sharing of copyrighted movies, music and games over an Internet ``peer-to-peer'' network, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Wednesday.

Ex-Enron Executive Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Enron's former top investor-relations executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of helping conceal the energy company's shaky financial condition before its collapse.

Firms Chosen to Build Anti-Missile Defense

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Teams led by BAE Systems and Northrup Grumman were chosen Wednesday to build and test prototypes for anti-missile systems to defend U.S. commercial planes against shoulder-fired rockets.

Home Depot Agrees to Settle Bias Claims

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot has agreed to settle discrimination claims brought by workers at some of its stores in Colorado for $5.5 million, the company said Wednesday.

Singapore Airlines Orders 18 Boeing Jets

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Singapore Airlines, Asia's most valuable flag-carrier, gave Boeing Co. some good news and bad news, ordering up to 31 of the airplane maker's long-range jets but saying it would hold off on deciding whether to buy the new 7E7 Dreamliner.

Northwest, Ticket Distributor File Suits

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Northwest Airlines Corp. and a major ticket distributor have filed dueling lawsuits over Northwest's new fees for customers and travel agents who don't buy tickets on Northwest Web sites.