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AP Financial News Summary at 11:05 p.m. EDT

April 12, 2006

Dow Ends Down 52, Nasdaq Closes Down 23

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks tumbled Tuesday as strength in the commodities market fed inflation fears and stifled investors’ enthusiasm over upbeat first-quarter earnings from Dow Jones industrial Alcoa Inc.

Gasoline Prices Rise As Summer Approaches

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Gasoline prices are surging again with summer on the horizon, pushing or even passing $3 a gallon in some places. Meanwhile, drivers aren’t expected to ease off on their mileage, sending demand higher than last year _ but they are grumbling.

Oil Prices Briefly Exceed $69 Per Barrel

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oil prices briefly surpassed $69 a barrel Tuesday, gaining strength from a rally in gasoline futures and declarations from Iran’s president that the country had successfully enriched uranium for the first time.

Music the Example for Free ABC Shows

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The decision to offer ABC’s hit shows for free online was motivated largely by a desire to avoid the kind of distribution troubles suffered by the music industry, The Walt Disney Co.’s president and CEO said Tuesday.

Media Companies Seek to Hide Stars’ Pay

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some big media and entertainment companies hope to keep under wraps the perks and income of their stars and celebrities, challenging a Securities and Exchange Commission proposal that’s being called the ``Katie Couric clause.″

Skilling Denies Leading Enron Conspiracy

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling on Tuesday addressed prosecution testimony that painted him as an earnings-obsessed leader so bent on meeting or beating Wall Street expectations that his underlings resorted to fraud with his knowledge.

Vioxx Plaintiff Gets $9M Punitive Damages

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ A New Jersey man was awarded $13.5 million from Vioxx maker Merck & Co., including $9 million in punitive damages on Tuesday after a jury found that the company knowingly withheld data about the pain drug’s risks from federal regulators.

Levi Strauss 1Q Profit Rises 14 Percent

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Levi Strauss & Co.‘s first-quarter profit rose 14 percent despite a sales downturn driven by persisting problems in Europe and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s recent de-emphasis of the jeans maker’s discount brand.

Genentech 1Q Profit Up on Medicine Sales

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Biotechnology company Genentech Inc.’s 2-year-old hot streak continued Tuesday when it reported a 48 percent jump in first-quarter income, fueled by strong sales of its cancer medicines.

Negotiators for Delta, Union Hold Talks

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Negotiators for Delta Air Lines Inc. and its pilots union met at a New York hotel Tuesday trying to hammer out an agreement over pay and benefit cuts that would prevent a strike that would doom the nation’s third-largest carrier.

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