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AP Financial News Summary at 5:47 p.m. EDT

April 13, 2006

Ford to Shut Plants in Minn., Va. in 2008

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DETROIT (AP) _ Ford Motor Co., which is closing plants and cutting jobs in an effort to improve results from its North American auto business, said Thursday that it will shutter assembly plants in Norfolk, Va., and St. Paul, Minn., in 2008.

Retail Sales Rise 0.6 Percent in March

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Shoppers got back in the groove in March, sending sales at the nation’s retailers up by 0.6 percent.

Dow Closes Up 8, Nasdaq Finishes Up 12

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks inched higher in light trading Thursday after government data indicated that the economy was growing at a slower pace, raising investors’ hopes that moderating economic growth might halt the Federal Reserve’s streak of interest rate hikes. The major indexes ended the week narrowly mixed.

Skilling Says Gov’t Ignored Enron Facts

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling struggled to hold his temper Thursday at being pegged a liar and a crook by federal prosecutors, telling jurors in his criminal trial that he was devastated the company he cherished became a symbol for scandal.

Bausch & Lomb Shares Rise Amid Probe

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ After two days in a tailspin, shares of Bausch & Lomb Inc. edged up Thursday as federal officials investigate whether its newest contact lens solution is to blame for a fungal eye infection that can cause blindness.

Oil Prices Rise Above $69 Per Barrel

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil prices rose above $69 a barrel on Thursday ahead of the long weekend, as worries about possible supply disruptions overshadowed the news that U.S. crude inventories are at their highest level in eight years.

Newspaper Publishers Post Weaker Results

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Several newspaper publishers reported lower first-quarter results Thursday as sluggish advertising, higher newsprint prices, new costs for expensing stock options and one-time charges took their toll.

GE 1Q Earnings Jump 9 Percent to $4.3B

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ General Electric Co. said Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 9 percent as strong sales of aircraft engines, locomotives, medical equipment and financial services offset weaknesses in energy and its NBC television network.

Delta, Pilots Union Continue Negotiations

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Intense talks between negotiators for Delta Air Lines Inc. and its pilots union continued for a third straight day Thursday without word of an agreement on long-term pay and benefit cuts that could avert a crippling strike at the nation’s third-largest carrier.

Meat Processor Targets Clueless Shoppers

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BURNSVILLE, Minn. (AP) _ Dan Hogan admitted he had only a vague idea of what he was doing as he poked through the beef case, looking for dinner. Like many in his generation, the 32-year-old Burnsville man didn’t pick up much cooking knowledge growing up.

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