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AP Financial News Summary at 2:23 p.m. EDT

August 20, 2004

Oil Nears $50 a Barrel, Traders Eye Iraq

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NEW YORK (AP) _ With $50-a-barrel in sight, oil traders were glued Friday to developments in Iraq, where tensions between U.S. forces and rebel fighters appeared to ease, raising hopes that attacks against the country’s oil infrastructure would subside.

General Growth Set to Buy Rouse for $7.2B

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COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) _ General Growth Properties Inc., a Chicago-based developer of regional shopping malls, said Friday it will buy the Rouse Co. for about $7.2 billion. The deal will provide it with more leverage in negotiations with top retailers and give it some of the nation’s premiere mall sites like Boston’s Faneuil Hall and the Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip.

Stocks Edge Higher As Oil Prices Fall

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks moved slightly higher Friday as investors tried to uncouple share prices from skyrocketing oil costs, helped in afternoon trading by falling oil prices that had earlier reached new highs and flirted with $50 per barrel.

New Overtime Rules to Take Effect Monday

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ In an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s overtime pay rules, the Bush administration is delivering to its business allies an election-year plum they’ve sought for decades.

Job Cuts Loom With Kmart’ Home Depot Sale

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TROY, Mich. (AP) _ Kmart Holding Corp.’s sale of 13 stores to The Home Depot Inc. could cost up to 1,200 Kmart employees their jobs in coming months.

Mylan Criticizes Wall Street Analysts

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PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Wall Street analysts have overvalued Mylan Laboratories Inc. stock and investors can not reasonably rely on their earnings estimates, the generic pharmaceutical company said in a statement Friday.

Witness Takes Stand in Ex-Yukos CEO Trial

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MOSCOW (AP) _ The former director of a Russian fertilizer company took the stand Friday as the first witness in the fraud and tax evasion trial of former Yukos oil company chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky and a top business partner.

Goldman Sachs Workers Top Donation List

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NEW YORK (AP) _ With Election Day little more than two months away, employees at Goldman Sachs Group are far and away the most active political donors on Wall Street.

BHP Confirms Talks With S. Korea’s Posco

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Global mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. said Friday it is in discussions with South Korean steel maker Posco to build what would be India’s biggest steel mill.

U.S., Japanese Officials Hold Trade Talks

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TOKYO (AP) _ U.S. officials renewed a request for Japan to keep the country’s postal service from offering life insurance products after its privatization in 2007 during one-day trade talks Friday.

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