Fed to Hike Rates for 1st Time in 4 Years

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Now that the economic recovery is on solid ground and the jobs climate is improving, Federal Reserve policy-makers are ready to boost interest rates for the first time in four years.

Kmart to Sell Up to 54 Stores to Sears

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DETROIT (AP) _ Kmart Holding Co. will sell up to 54 of its stores to Sears, Roebuck and Co. for up to $621 million, the retailer said Wednesday.

Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Rate Decision

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks edged higher in early trading Wednesday as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates.

Freddie Mac Earnings Down 52 Percent

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A year after its accounting crisis erupted, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Wednesday a 52 percent drop in earnings last year amid volatile interest rates and losses as it hedged against risk.

General Mills Earnings Up 24 Percent in 4Q

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ General Mills Inc. reported its earnings rose 24 percent in its fourth quarter despite higher commodity prices, but lowered its projections for sales and earnings in 2005 and 2006.

Consumer Confidence Rises Nearly 9 Points

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumer confidence jumped to a two-year high in June, buoyed by an improved job market and softening gasoline prices, the New York-based Conference Board reported Tuesday.

Bank One to Settle Hedge Fund Allegations

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Bank One Corp. moved to clear its name with regulators before relegating it to history, reaching a settlement over improper mutual-fund trading practices just before Thursday's merger with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Poll: Consumer Confidence Still on Rise

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Overall consumer confidence got a substantial boost for the second week in a row, bringing it back up to levels not seen since mid-May, according to the latest ABC News/Money Magazine poll.

Deutsche Bank Completes Buyback

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest, said Wednesday it has completed a buyback of 10 percent of its stock for more than $4.5 billion and will go ahead with plans to repurchase more shares.

Suspended Sentence Sought for Bank Chief

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) _ Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a suspended prison term for Germany's most prominent banker and jail sentences for two co-defendants if they are convicted of involvement in improper payments stemming from Vodafone's 2000 takeover of cell phone (AP) _ company Mannesmann.