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AP Financial News Summary at 4:33 p.m. EDT

July 13, 2004

Trade Deficit Narrows, Exports Hit High

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ America’s trade deficit narrowed to $46 billion in May, an improvement brought about as U.S. exports posted their best month on record.

De Beers Pleads Guilty in Price-Fix Case

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ De Beers pleaded guilty in a 10-year-old price-fixing case Tuesday and was fined $10 million fine as part of an agreement that would clear the way for the diamond giant to resume selling diamonds directly in the lucrative U.S. market.

Stocks Close Mixed Ahead of Intel Report

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street waited for the release of Intel Corp.’s earnings and waffled through an uninspired session Tuesday, leaving stocks narrowly mixed despite solid results from Johnson & Johnson and several banking companies.

Johnson & Johnson Doubles Its 2Q Profit

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) _ Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson more than doubled its second-quarter profit from a year ago, when a large acquisition charge depressed earnings.

Merrill Lynch Stock Drops After 2Q Report

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Merrill Lynch & Co. reported a 10.3 percent surge in second-quarter profits Tuesday as strong performances from its private client and investment management divisions partially offset lower earnings in its overseas and investment banking business. The results were below Wall Street expectations, though, and the company’s stock fell 3 percent on the news.

Martha Stewart to Be Sentenced on Friday

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Martha Stewart and her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, will be sentenced separately on Friday, a clerk for the sentencing judge said Tuesday.

Investors Eye Intel Profit for Direction

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Intel Corp., the world’s largest chip maker, could see second-quarter earnings give direction to semiconductor stocks as investors remain concerned demand might be waning for companies that make computers and handheld devices.

Bank of America to Buy Bankcard Processor

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Bank of America Corp. said Tuesday it is buying bankcard processor National Processing Inc. of Louisville, Ky., in a $1.4 billion cash deal that would create the nation’s second-largest such company with nearly $250 billion in annual processing volume.

Domino’s Pizza Falls in Trading Debut

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DETROIT (AP) _ Domino’s Pizza Inc. failed to deliver big gains for investors in its initial public offering of stock, with the shares falling nearly 4 percent Tuesday in their trading debut.

Delta to Post $1.65B in Non-Cash Charges

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Delta Air Lines Inc. warned Tuesday it will post a whopping $1.65 billion in non-cash charges in the second quarter and said it will no longer recognize income tax benefits, which will boost its net losses. Its shares skidded nearly 7 percent.

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