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AP Financial News Summary at 1:16 p.m. EST

March 31, 2006

Delphi Asks Court to Void Union Contracts

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DETROIT (AP) _ Auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. asked a federal bankruptcy court on Friday to void its labor contracts as part of a controversial restructuring that calls for layoffs of up to 8,500 salaried workers and the sale or closure of 21 of its 29 U.S. plants.

Holders OK Boston Scientific-Guidant Deal

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BOSTON (AP) _ Shareholders overwhelmingly approved Boston Scientific Corp.’s $27 billion acquisition of medical device maker Guidant Corp., the companies said Friday.

Consumer Spending Slows in February

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer spending, which had soared because of unusually warm weather in January, slowed sharply in February while Americans’ incomes grew by the smallest amount in three months.

Whirlpool Completes Acquisition of Maytag

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Whirlpool Corp. completed its acquisition of Maytag Corp. on Friday and said it will immediately begin integrating the two appliance companies.

Stocks Mostly Higher After Spending Data

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks traded mostly higher Friday amid falling oil prices and news of a slowdown in personal spending that helped soothe investors’ concerns about higher interest rates.

Freddie Mac Says It Had Strong Year in ’05

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac, emerging from an accounting scandal, said Friday that it had a strong year in 2005 but acknowledged that it needs to make more progress in its financial controls and reporting.

Home Depot Completes Purchase of Hughes

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot Inc., the nation’s largest home improvement store chain, said Friday it has completed its $3.2 billion purchase of Hughes Supply Inc., a distributor of construction, repair and maintenance products.

LSE Value Soars As It Spurns Offers

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LONDON _ London Stock Exchange shareholders must be happy they didn’t leap at a 1.35 billion pound takeover bid from Germany’s Deutsche Boerse back in 2004.

Crude Futures Fall Below $66 a Barrel

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LONDON (AP) _ Crude oil prices retreated Friday as traders took profits following sharp gains this week.

Judge Dismisses Patent Lawsuit Vs. Mattel

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Toy maker Mattel Inc. on Friday said a federal court in Delaware dismissed a patent lawsuit brought against the company and its Fisher-Price subsidiary by rival LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.

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