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AP Financial News Summary at 12:51 p.m. EST

January 26, 2006

General Motors Posts Big Loss, Shares Dip

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DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp., which is planning big job cuts and plant closings as it fights to avoid bankruptcy, said Thursday it lost $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter and $8.6 billion in all of 2005, dragged down by losses in its North American division.

FTC Fines ChoicePoint Over Data Breach

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that data warehouser ChoicePoint Inc. will pay $15 million to settle charges that its security and record-handling procedures violated consumers’ privacy rights and federal laws.

Dow Gains 108 Points on Earnings News

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A jump in orders for the nation’s factories and strong earnings from Caterpillar Inc. sent stocks sharply higher Thursday as the market shook off a steep loss posted by General Motors Corp. The Dow Jones industrials gained more than 108 points in midday trading.

Caterpillar Posts Strongest Quarter Ever

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) _ Caterpillar Inc. posted its strongest quarter ever Thursday, yielding record annual profits and revenues that the leading heavy equipment maker says will continue to rise in 2006.

Big-Ticket Factory Orders Hit All-Time High

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Orders to American factories for big-ticket manufactured goods posted a third consecutive increase in December, closing out a record year for the nation’s factories.

Drive-Thrus Look for Ways to Stand Out

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ When Pam Farber, the daughter of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, worked at one of her father’s fast-food stores in the 1970s, customers were unfamiliar with the drive-through concept.

Lockheed Martin 4Q Earnings Up on Gains

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BETHESDA, Md. (AP) _ Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest U.S. defense contractor, said Thursday fourth-quarter net income grew 53 percent, boosted by one-time gains and higher sales of information technology services and space systems.

Greenspan Wants Banking Exemption Halted

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is urging Congress to close a regulatory loophole that lets companies own a certain breed of banks, which includes a bank Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to operate in Utah.

AT&T 4Q Income Beats Street Expectations

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ AT&T Inc., the nation’s largest telecommunications provider, on Thursday reported fourth-quarter net income that beat Wall Street expectations, reflecting growth in wireless, broadband and business services.

Federated Projects First-Quarter Loss

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ Federated Department Stores Inc., the nation’s biggest department store operator and parent of Macy’s and Bloomingdales, said it expects to post a loss in the fiscal first quarter amid weaker sales in existing stores. Shares of the retailer slumped in early trading even as it projected ``significant improvement″ in 2007 and a return to peak profit levels by 2008.

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