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AP Financial News Summary at 10:27 p.m. EST

March 17, 2006

Icahn-Led Investors Win Seat on KT&G Board

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DAEJEON, South Korea (AP) _ Investors led by U.S. billionaire Carl Icahn on Friday won one seat on the board of KT&G Corp., South Korea’s dominant tobacco company.

Dow Closes Up 43, Nasdaq Finishes Down 12

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Bullish data on inflation and the housing market sent stocks mostly higher Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrials and Standard & Poor’s 500 index posting nearly five-year highs for the third straight session. A jump in oil prices moderated the gains, however, and the Nasdaq composite index finished lower.

Bear Stearns Posts 1Q Profit, Fined $250M

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Bear Stearns Cos. on Thursday became the third brokerage in as many days to post record first-quarter earnings and revenues, but the good news was overshadowed by old problems _ illegal market timing practices that bilked mutual fund investors out of millions.

AIG Reports Drop in 4Q Profit on Charges

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NEW YORK (AP) _ American International Group Inc., one of the world’s largest insurers, reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit Thursday as it took after-tax charges of more than $2 billion to cover a settlement with state and federal regulators and an increase in its reserves. It also took a hit from hurricane payouts.

GM Revises 2005 Loss by $2B, Sees Charges

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DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. late Thursday revised its loss for 2005 to $10.6 billion _ $2 billion more than it reported in January _ citing higher costs it expects for a broad restructuring and the bankruptcy reorganization of Delphi Corp.

Oil Prices Advance in Technical Rally

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oil prices rose Thursday in what analysts chalked up as a technical rally that followed earlier selling.

Barnes & Noble, Borders Income Top Views

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation’s largest bookseller, reported a 6.3 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net income on Thursday, and saw its stock jump nearly 10 percent. But No. 2 rival Borders Group Inc. said its income slipped 3 percent as gross margins declined.

Exec: Delta Won’t Lower Pilot Concessions

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Delta Air Lines Inc. won’t lower the amount of concessions it is seeking from its pilots any further, but would be willing to discuss concerns pilots have about the possible termination of their defined benefit pension plan, the carrier’s chief financial officer said in an interview Thursday.

Toll Brothers CEO Sees Real Estate Growth

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Predictions of doom and gloom in the housing market are overblown and there is still room for real estate to grow as long as mortgage rates stay near historical lows, according the head of Toll Brothers, the nation’s largest luxury homebuilder.

Venezuela Closes Offices of Total, Eni

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Venezuela’s tax authority temporarily closed the administrative offices of the French oil company Total SA and the Italian oil company Eni SpA on Thursday, citing accounting irregularities in the companies’ tax filings.

Japanese Stocks Higher; Dollar Climbs

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TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese stocks rose in early trading Friday, rebounding from the previous day’s decline in a broad-based rally. The dollar was higher against the yen and euro.

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