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AP Financial News Summary at 2:45 p.m. EDT

September 27, 2004

Oil Prices Close in on $50 a Barrel

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oil prices advanced closer to $50 a barrel Monday as domestic and foreign supply concerns persist amid strong global demand.

New Home Sales Climb 9.4 Percent in August

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sales of new homes rose by 9.4 percent in August, the Commerce Department said Monday, as mortgage interest rates remained at low enough levels to continue enticing buyers worried about future rate hikes.

Stocks Slide As Oil Nears $50 a Barrel

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks slid further Monday as a fresh surge in oil prices set a new trading record and threatened to push past $50 per barrel.

Fannie Mae to Tighten Internal Controls

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Under pressure from federal regulators, mortgage giant Fannie Mae has agreed to boost its reserve cushion against risk by several billion dollars and take other sweeping actions to correct what were cited as serious accounting problems, including recalculating key transactions back to 2001 and tightening internal controls.

Aide: Fastow Mulled ‘Rescue’ of Enron Sale

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HOUSTON (AP) _ As Enron Corp. scrambled to unload interest in several barges in December 1999, former finance chief Andrew Fastow contemplated coming to the rescue with a buyer he created so he would be a hero to then-president Jeffrey Skilling, Fastow’s former top aide testified Monday.

JPMorgan to Buy Stake in Highbridge Co.

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NEW YORK (AP) _ JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Monday it agreed to buy a majority stake in Highbridge Capital Management, a closely held hedge-fund company, in a deal that demonstrates Wall Street’s growing attraction to the lucrative hedge-fund business.

Walgreen Earnings Rise 18 Percent in 4Q

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Walgreen Co. posted an 18 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit thanks to continuing strength in prescription drug sales, beating Wall Street estimates.

Stewart Gets Her Federal Inmate Number

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Martha Stewart still does not know where she will do her time for lying about a stock sale, but she’s already been designated federal inmate No. 55170-054.

Hilfiger Shares Fall on News of Probe

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Shares of Tommy Hilfiger Corp. fell to a 52-week low Monday after the clothing company said it is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation focused on whether its commission rate to an international subsidiary is justified.

Comcast to Cut Time Warner Cable Interest

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp. on Monday said they have agreed to allow Comcast to cut its interest in Time Warner Cable Inc. to 17 percent from about 21 percent.

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