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AP Financial News Summary at 11:24 a.m. EDT

September 14, 2006

Retail Sales Slow, Jobless Claims Drop

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Retail sales in August posted the weakest showing in two months as worried consumers curbed their spending habits.

Ford Said to Face Big Losses

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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co.’s financial officials are estimating the automaker could lose up to $9 billion this year including the costs of a massive restructuring plan, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Segway Recalls Scooters for Injury Risk

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Segway Inc. is recalling all 23,500 of the self-balancing scooters it has shipped to date because of a software glitch that can make its wheels unexpectedly reverse direction, causing riders to fall off _ and in at least one incident, break some teeth.

Wal-Mart Scraps Tradition, Ends Layaways

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will end layaway service this year due to falling demand and rising costs, scrapping a tradition started when Sam Walton founded the chain in 1962 catering to cash-strapped rural shoppers in northwest Arkansas.

Price Data Sends Stocks Lower

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street pulled back Thursday as investors looked past an unexpected rise in retail sales and focused on an increase in import prices.

Official: Charges Possible in HP Scandal

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ California’s attorney general could file criminal charges within a week in the boardroom spying scandal at Hewlett-Packard Co., a spokesman said Wednesday, and experts say the company’s top brass and third-party detectives are all possible targets.

Oil Eases on Sharp Drop in Natural Gas

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Natural gas futures fell sharply on Thursday after U.S. government data showed higher-than-anticipated injections of the winter fuel into underground storage facilities. With natural gas sliding close to a 2-year low, oil prices also fell.

GE Sells Materials Unit for $3.8B

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ General Electric Co. said Thursday it will sell most of its advanced materials unit for $3.8 billion in the latest move to reshape one of the world’s largest companies.

Bear Stearns 3Q Profit Rises

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Bear Stearns Cos. on Thursday reported its third-quarter profit climbed 16 percent as the Wall Street investment bank relied on strong trading results to shake off a sluggish period for mergers and acquisitions.

IMF: Housing Market Could Slow U.S. GDP

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SINGAPORE (AP) _ The U.S. economy is headed for a slowdown caused by a cooling housing market, the International Monetary Fund warned Thursday, and that could drag on global growth. But China’s booming economy shows no sign of slowing down, and that prompted the IMF to raise its global growth forecast for this year and next.

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