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AP Financial News Summary at 6:38 p.m. EDT

July 25, 2006

Big Companies Cash in on Fed Contracts

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ At least $12 billion in contracts the government claimed it gave to small companies last year wound up instead in the coffers of corporate giants like Microsoft and Rolls Royce, greatly inflating the Bush administration’s record of help to small businesses, Democratic congressional investigators say.

Existing Home Sales Fall, Prices Inch Up

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sales of existing homes fell in June for the eighth time in the past 10 months while home prices edged up at the slowest pace in more than a decade _ more signs that the housing market has slowed dramatically.

Stocks End Higher on Late-Day Bounce

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A late-day rebound gave stocks a moderate advance Tuesday as sharply lower oil prices and an unexpected jump in consumer confidence soothed investors’ unease over a batch of mixed earnings.

Sun Microsystems Swings to 4Q Loss

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Server and software maker Sun Microsystems posted a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter as restructuring, acquisition and stock-based compensation costs absorbed revenue that grew 29 percent.

Consumer Confidence Posts Modest Rise

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumers shrugged off higher gasoline prices in July and grew a bit more optimistic about the economy, a private research group said on Tuesday.

GM’s Earnings to Spotlight Turnaround

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DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. will have a chance to show its turnaround efforts are working when the world’s biggest automaker releases its second-quarter financial results Wednesday.

Amazon.com Says 2Q Earnings Fall 58 Pct.

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Amazon.com Inc. said Tuesday that second-quarter earnings plunged nearly 58 percent as the online retailer focused on investing in a shipping deal and new technologies.

Judge Rejects Skilling’s Request

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HOUSTON (AP) _ A judge on Tuesday summarily rejected a request by former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling to overturn his convictions of fraud, conspiracy and other charges for helping perpetuate one of the most notorious corporate frauds in history.

UPS Warns on Outlook As 2Q Profit Misses

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ATLANTA (AP) _ UPS Inc. shares plunged Tuesday by their biggest one-day margin ever after the world’s largest shipping carrier reported a second-quarter profit that missed Wall Street expectations and warned its earnings growth for the year will be at the low end of its forecast.

Altria Beats Outlook; Stock Soars

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Shares of Altria hit a new 52-week high on Tuesday after the world’s biggest cigarette maker reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings and predicted profit would continue to rise as international sales expand.

Wife of slain developer seeks allowance

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GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ The widow of a slain developer has applied for an allowance of nine thousand dollars a month from his estate.

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