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AP Financial News Summary at 11:15 p.m. EDT

July 24, 2006

Gas Prices Move Past $3 to All-Time High

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CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) _ Nationwide gas prices hit an all-time high in the last two weeks, rising nearly 2 cents to just over $3 per gallon, according to a survey released Sunday.

Reports Due, the Market Remains a Gamble

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NEW YORK (AP) _ With a raft of key economic reports scheduled this week, the stock market’s direction remains a complete gamble. Wall Street caught a brief whiff of optimism last week when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional panel that economic activity was abating and inflation was so far contained _ a sign of a possible end to the central bank’s interest rate hikes.

Japanese Stocks Retreat Ahead of Earnings

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TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese stocks retreated early Monday as investors remained cautious ahead of corporate earnings reports. The dollar was higher against the yen.

Judge to Weigh Google Click-Fraud Deal

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ An Arkansas judge begins weighing objections this week to a $90 million class-action settlement between Internet search leader Google Inc. and advertisers who say they were victims of ``click fraud.″

Hoover Workers in Risky Bid to Save Jobs

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (AP) _ From the window in his small union hall office, Jim Repace can look out at the red brick, four-story Hoover Co. plant and dream about owning the well-known vacuum maker.

‘Pirates’ Out-Earns Predecessor in 17 Days

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Johnny Depp and his pirate friends are keeping all the box-office treasure for themselves. Depp’s ``Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest″ remained the top movie for the third straight weekend, hauling in $35 million and lifting its total to $321.7 million after just 17 days, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Rising Oil Prices Boost Sales of ’Copters

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Rising fuel prices that are a bane to consumers have been a boon to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and other manufacturers of helicopters shuttling workers to and from rapidly multiplying offshore drilling rigs.

BP Settles With Colombian Farmers

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ British Petroleum will pay an undisclosed amount to some 1,000 Colombian farmers who sued it for $28 million, claiming a pipeline the oil giant built endangered their livelihoods including from right-wing paramilitaries.

Ross Sells Investment Firm to British Co.

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross Jr. agreed Sunday to sell the investment company he founded six years ago to British investment company AMVESCAP PLC, aiming to expand into new capital markets overseas.

Former Farm Boy Finds Ice Cream Biz Cool

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EUREKA, Mo. (AP) _ Steve Rusakiewicz had never heard of Dippin’ Dots, much less wrapped his tongue around the colorful flash-frozen ice cream in BB-sized pellets.

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