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AP Financial News Summary at 9:39 a.m. EDT

October 20, 2006

Merck 3Q Net Drops 34 Pct. on Flat Sales

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Drugmaker Merck & Co. on Friday posted a 34 percent drop in third-quarter net income due to flat sales, restructuring costs and higher overhead, including increased marketing costs for recently approved products.

Caterpillar Cuts Full-Year Outlook

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) _ Caterpillar Inc. on Friday said third-quarter profit climbed 15 percent as the company sold more of its construction and mining equipment at higher prices, but a sharply reduced outlook sent its shares sliding in premarket activity.

3M Profit for 3Q Rises

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ 3M Co., maker of Scotch tape and furnace filters, said on Friday that its third-quarter profit rose 6.4 percent as its business making films for LCD television and computer screens rebounded.

Dow Falls in Early Trading

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks were mixed after disappointing results and outlook from blue chip industrial equipment maker Caterpillar.

Oil Prices Rise After OPEC Decision

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LONDON (AP) _ Oil prices rose Friday after OPEC said it would cut output by a greater-than-expected 1.2 million barrels a day to reverse a three-month price slide. Some members indicated the cartel was open to further reductions.

Schering-Plough 3Q Profit Soars

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Drug maker Schering-Plough Corp. said Friday its third-quarter earnings rose nearly sevenfold to top Wall Street estimates as its revenue rose 13 percent and profits nearly doubled from its cholesterol drug joint venture with Merck & Co.

Corus Agrees to $8B Tata Steel Offer

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LONDON (AP) _ Britain’s Corus Group PLC agreed to an $8 billion takeover offer Friday from India’s Tata Steel in a deal that extends the consolidation of the world’s steelmaking industry.

Report: 2 Mull Bid for Aston Martin

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LONDON (AP) _ Billionaires Bernard Arnault and Albert Frere are considering a bid for Aston Martin, the luxury automaker that Ford has put up for sale, the Financial Times reported Friday.

Sony Delays Sale of LocationFree TV Box

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TOKYO (AP) _ In yet another embarrassment, Sony on Friday postponed the rollout of a product promised for next week to do more tests, a day after lowering its earnings forecast because of a massive battery recall and manufacturing delays.

ICBC Raises $19B in World’s Biggest IPO

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HONG KONG (AP) _ China’s biggest bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, raised $19 billion Friday in the world’s biggest initial public offering, pricing its IPO at the top end of expectations, thanks to overwhelming demand.

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