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AP Financial News Summary at 7:43 p.m. EDT

April 21, 2006

Rising Oil Prices Worry Finance Ministers

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Finance officials from the world’s leading industrial powers expressed concern Friday about zooming oil prices and vowed to take action to prevent the global economy from getting knocked off course.

Jury: Merck Liable in Elderly Man’s Death

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RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) _ A state jury found Merck & Co. liable Friday for the death of a 71-year-old man who had a fatal heart attack within a month of taking its since-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx and ordered the company to pay $32 million. Merck said it would appeal.

Oil Prices Settle Above $75 a Barrel

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Crude-oil prices broke through $75 a barrel to hit a new record Friday, fueled by concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and tight U.S. gasoline supplies.

Dow Closes Up 5, Nasdaq Finishes Down 20

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street gave up early gains and closed mostly lower Friday after oil prices topped $75 a barrel for the first time. The Dow Jones industrial average reached another six-year high on strong earnings from 3M Co., and the major indexes managed gains for the week.

Ford Posts $1.2B Loss in First Quarter

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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. swung to a $1.2 billion loss in the first quarter as it began a costly restructuring effort amid weak U.S. sales, leaving Ford executives disappointed but determined to go ahead with their plan to cut 30,000 jobs and remake the No. 2 automaker.

Skilling Ends Testimony Standing, Bruised

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling may be standing after his verbal boxing match with a federal prosecutor, but he took some sucker punches that could figure heavily into whether jurors in his fraud and conspiracy trial believe his claims of innocence.

Boston Scientific-Guidant Deal Closes

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BOSTON (AP) _ Boston Scientific Corp. on Friday completed its acquisition of Guidant Corp., a $27 billion deal that emerged from a bidding war against Johnson & Johnson and creates the world’s biggest maker of cardiovascular devices.

McDonald’s 1Q Profit Declines 14 Percent

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CHICAGO (AP) _ McDonald’s Corp. posted its largest quarterly earnings decline since 2002 Friday, a 14 percent drop that reflected a big tax gain a year ago and came as customers continued spending significantly more money at its restaurants.

Google Shares Flying High Again After 1Q

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The anxieties that rattled Google Inc.’s stock a few weeks ago have evaporated, giving way to another burst of euphoria after the online search engine leader delighted investors with first-quarter earnings that erased recent doubts about its growth.

German Union, Employers Hold Wage Talks

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) _ German labor union and industry leaders opened crunch wage talks Friday, the outcome of which is likely to determine whether 3.4 million manufacturing workers in Europe’s largest economy go on strike.

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